Head of a Woman with the Horns of a Ram
I used to curse the sidewalk ice
when I walked downhill after midnight,
my voice a bachelor in the quiet
wedded to itself, with a dog
warming its feet. A dog who never hunted,
never bit into deer or fox
felled. After Actaeon was changed
into a buck and his own dogs ran him down—
he knew them each by name, dozens
of them, names like Daisy, and Slayer, too—
Ovid says he made a sound no man
would make, and no stag either.
Today I went to my campus office
for the first time in such a long time, I even saw
a few students, and we laughed, almost
enchanted by each other’s bodies: human,
fully ourselves, outside a screen.
I have two copies of The Metamorphoses there,
and one has spent the pandemic by the window.
Same edition, same cover—Head of a Woman
with the Horns of a Ram—but that one
has been lying out, changing in the sun,
bleached purple like a bruise almost healed.
Both girls have their cheeks to their shoulders,
as if to soothe some itch, but they can’t tell
where just yet. Both girls are in trouble,
but one has been lonelier.