Postcard to a Woman from a Country of Ardent Light

by M. A. Cowgill
Instead of what it was or how it looked, I wanted
more than two ways to begin a story. To stop insisting
the inside of a pomegranate was the right symbol
for you when you sat so straightly in the sunlight
breaching the red panels of your bedroom— starch
of shirt, silence in divots, honey-comb… Symbols
are found; they are not right, they are not wrong.
All of Klimt’s women in the first drafts were naked.
Did you know that? He began with the body actual
then concealed with gold, squares of indigo, a single
handful of soil. Don’t read this biographically.
I began with your legs, the cabinet of your hips.
Worshiping overpowers what has been worshipped for,
thus expression, the freedom to, how Klimt said
the sinking stone of the female form may float now,
lilied pad, radiant pond. What is worshipped for
was once so plain— zip code of your address, the cost
of a stamp. You are somewhere and someone else.
My love, my odd adoration: a basin of water, these
shallow boxes of glass. What could I give you now?
Tell me what you want and I’ll write it down, read it back.