The Vandal Bride

When I left you the truth

of opened hands pursued me
through the winter garden:

my chest wrenched open, ribs like fingers,
open as graves in a world of snow.

You were the sun, and I was your moon,
you the larger circle, and I the lesser,

but the circle was too tight,
like golden rings around the necks of tigers

the pets of princes, and as I grew, the circle grew
tighter and tighter—

But I believed in it, the forfeit, the chill,

bitter eradication like poison plunged
into the veins, strychnine, mercury, arsenic love,

the old-fashioned cure: bride and bridegroom, now love, now vandal.

And so I was a wintry bride, gowned in ice, veiled in snow,
clad in the cold of virture, cold as home.