Bride of a Beast

by Anne Kwok

after Odd Nerdrum’s painting ‘Running Bride’

Bride of a beast, silent, tyrant woman
caged out of her own poem. I’ve been cradling
a wet rag to his feet when I could be dressed
in nothing but a summer mist. Where is that girl
gutting a bear to wear its hide as a bride,
chopping fur scattered over a groom’s grave.
Blade nicking her cheeks so no man would dare
touch her, blade shearing ends of black hair falling
around her like a halo of hooks. See how the sun
undresses each layer, body dissolving any light that enters.
They say pound her, surround her, drown her in the dirt
of a burial ground. Tell her I’m slaughtered
so she can wrap my body in briars and set me on grave-fire.