Bess, the landlord’s daughter
should cover the begonia of blood on the musket,
put her hair up into a bun and descend;
walk out alone on the Little Mermaid’s legs
still singing, whether on crag, tide, or sea foam with her sisters.
I walk, singing, too
knower, agent, doer, done.
It could kill me:
the brokenhearted sacrificing stars,
the silence of a wind-abraded
craggy human family, story.
a heritage of slights embedded in the sky.
All I have is sniper thinking;
I am calling out from between the rocks.
To solve the dilemma of my moral levy,
I accept innocence and faith;
more is required: doubt.
If reason is valuable then these are my reasons
and they belong to me.
If I practise ethics,
then mercy to women, those proud moons of Jupiter.
I will not shout at you, not a one
though your quandaries be more than war
though you are but rogues, off orbit, you are moral.
You don’t need to petition me to find wonder.
Donny Osmond’s smile on my bedroom wall
put me in a state of faith.
My girlfriend would run away
to the Osmonds’s home,
their butterscotch eyes, their harmony:
why wouldn’t they welcome her?
He was pious in Joseph’s Dreamcoat
shrieking about a return to family,
but, Donny’s teeth were pearls, sea foam, something of true wonder.
Whiter than a wedding cake, neo-gothic house
on the escarpment in Lévis
after I disembarked from the ferry—
the wind and waves in smithereens of heaven—
I alone, freewheeling, walking in the light.
Whiter than the San Jose Observatory
where Himalia and other moons were found
where I looked up at the pavilion of private stars.
Whiter than my incandescent inner voice,
which is my outer voice,
moral, divine because I say so.
Deirdre Maultsaid’s essay, “The sun knows what it does” appeared in the anthology, Double Lives (McGill-Queens University Press). She has been published in Contemporary Verse 2, The Barcelona Review, Canadian Women’s Studies, The Danforth Review, Other Voices, Pif, Prairie Fire, The Southern Cross Review, and others. Her book of lyrical essays, These Blessings, This Crisis: Essays, is available from amazon.com; her e-book novel, The Ashes of her Shelter is available from smashwords. More writing is available at: www.deirdremaultsaid.com and @DeirdMaultsaid. She lives in Vancouver and has two grown children.