Be plucky, foolish, drawn to underwater caverns
and other damp lairs. Cry attractively, one hand
against your mouth. Wear something diaphanous,
and you will probably survive the night, although
your lover’s best friend will almost certainly die.
Pace, sigh, practice your scream. Raise the alarm
when he floats to the surface or lies crumpled
on the cold stone. Be transported by a monster or
the mystery of a man, the camera at your gently
bent back. Your task is to scream when you
are taken down a long candlelit staircase. Batter,
bat, flail ineffectively–whatever lurks beyond
the garden cannot escape for long. Come morning,
a man who claims to love you will grant you something
that seems like freedom. So rest while you can,
interchangeable stranger. Don’t trust yourself
to guard a captured beast or keep yourself safe.
Trust the man who nails the purple wolf’s bane
over your window, not the garlic reddening
your bloodless throat. Be carried off to church
bells in the daylight. Marry your second choice.