a pair of hands for Rusalka

by Eleanor Penny

unsweet, and coffee is
as black as it. If he’s twisted at the neck or
heavy at the eyes enough to take the wood for water
fall through and hold him under for he cannot go home.

But careful now – he plucked her on a filament
a cog upon a string

and showed her throat as whitely as a wishbone-open –
flesh was from it all
the pieces left for taking.

If he loved her ever it was boiled in his shell
with unspent sleep,
half-dead with distance.
Lamplight – heat the hollows of the leaves
as if it all were necessary
as if it were not summer
burnt itself triumphant on
what little yellowness was left.

The fruit is furled already for the beckon
of a broken leg,

for nothing is unnecessary, though she stands a miracle
of covered clockwork or
blanched and trembling as a wishbone:
                    curse god and banish his coincidence
to gloamed-out corners made for making morning in
 – for waking.

You can buy three lemons
for the price of a pound.
Not a bad price for to pay for lemons
– Rusalka told him, working out
the radiator creases from her clothes –

A single coin if what you want
to spend your money on
is bitter things
and lay them open    looked at
cut with light and sugar on a plate.