Hampton Court, January 15th 1559


On the eve of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 1st

Shoes junk rubies all over the dark
and stain the grass.

She's dreamless.

Hands like doves.
Men swarm and fawn in her mind.

Seas curl in the corridors of her mind,
currents play in rooms.

Dead air rustles her name, whispers secrets in her ear.

She shrinks into the mossy seat,
the moon a sceptre behind her arm,

sweeps aside damp skirts,
leaving gold for grass.

Leaves are suet under foot.
Tree bark is brocade.

The air thickens with rain.
Water swells silks and pearls,
runs through cracked whale-bone.
Her sides are bruised.

The rain seeps into her skin like scent.
Her hands drown in her flooded lap,
droplets dress her head.