Isabella Russell-Ides, Thanatopsis Redux

She speaks a various language.*
Bound in the bardo bereft
    vaguely present, almost dead.
For fucking shining aloud
           let me
back in. Come again, sustaining terror
Carve my shadow on your cave walls
Render me a soul, source me
    mystify, crush, obscure me
         in your deepest gorge  
    confine, stretch, reveal me     
Let me wobble

Details shift.
I admired your clouds, your starry nights, dew on
    a green field; I saw a muted future
    a four-legged figure bucking in fine fettle
    a goat girl tramp tramping—
         lost bride veiled in dandelion fur.  
I am she who prays you,
    breaks your water—
    a brook sluicing blood song
    scoring your legs, O Organ Mistress
         grant one more red escape.
Birth me again!

Let me abandon all hope and enter here
    kiss the mouth of the new world, suckle its air
    emerge dark-eyed in a slick white coat, braying— 
          a knobby-kneed girl with a pink tongue
                             water beading in my beard.

*William Cullen Bryant, Thanatopsis (1811)

Isabella Russell-Ides is a poet, playwright, and novelist. Her trilogy, White Monkey Chronicles, won the 2019 Jemma Prize for Speculative Fiction. The winner of several theatre accolades, including a Critic’s Forum Award for Coco & Gigi, and Echo Theater’s National Big Shout Out for The Early Education of Conrad Eppler, Isabella is also the author of a collection of poetry, Getting Dangerously Close to Myself (Slough Press), and the creator of the acclaimed Magdalene Mass. Look for Isabella’s newest play, Jo & Louisa, at the Festival of Independent Theatres this summer.

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