Ubi Sunt

Where are the good ones:
the beautiful, strong, and
virtuous figures of yore?
Probably where the moon is,
hung aloft in effulgent skies:
eating nails for breakfast,
dying in childbirth, then
resurrecting to give it all
away, cyclically, once more. 
I don’t want to be the moon,
I said to Dick on the casting
couch: I want to be a flower
no one can touch without dying
of hope of touching it again.
Something rare and exotic:
throaty stamen, purple pistil.
Something that just stands
on the stage and screams.
Alas, that role is taken,
said Dick, by Suzanne.
Figures, I said. How
about the wild river,
he suggested, kindly.
Or a creek, brook,
rivulet, rill, stream?
But where do I empty,
I asked, before agreeing:
in an ocean, sea, or lake,
or do I just flow into the
ground, a dried-up shrew?
That’s between you and your
character to decide, he said.
The river, you mean, I said.
Yes, he said. For god’s sake,
you’re a woman. Just be you.  

Copyright © 2023 by Virginia Konchan. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 27, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.