Europa

by Pascale Petit

“our red beasts of the ice-age studios” – Tomas Tranströmer

The red bull was so fragrant I climbed on his back,
hung garlands round his neck
as he ploughed into the waves.
I remember being plunged into open sea,
furrows threaded with flying fish.
I remember that as he started swimming
I gazed into the water, frightened –
but I clung to his pearly horns
and they grew tall, took the shape of a lyre.
Its salt strings sang to the sea, the sky,
and seemed to make them wilder,
and somehow I knew that whatever might happen
could be changed through this music,
even as his fur turned to fire
and every flame stabbed. I remember
that the beast turned his great head
back towards me, unsure what my fingers plucked
and that’s when I relaxed, stretching my limbs.
My body became wide as a continent.
From every part of me birds flew.
The bull still buckles under me, the plates
of earth’s muscles dance as they course through deep space.