Mermaids Wearing Fishnet Stockings

(or … the limitations of subtlety)

I will be born again as a country singer
with great legs.
—Bronwen Wallace

Subtlety: It’s a roll it on your tongue kind of pleasure.
Precise. And only just enough. An instrument
of intelligence. Or measure of. Can be the dab of cologne
at the base of a throat. The orange in your Grand Marnier.
Delicious. But I wouldn’t want to live in that neighbourhood
all the time. Imagine those blocks of square and spacious lawn.
All those decorator colours. And quilts hanging long-faced
on walls where no one’s ever snuggled under. Bronwen Wallace,
in her poems about Emmylou Harris, said in Emmylou’s
songs you can hear at least two busloads of church choirs.
Bronwen. She cracked me open so I can tell you who I really am.
Ariella somebody. Or Carmelita. Rose of Sharon. Ave Maria.
Or Annie May. I dress in cowboy boots, black velvet capes
and silver dragons, soft full skirts and faded jeans. I know
there’ll never be a better way to say, ‘”My heart is broken.”
I’m a girl who gave up loving princesses long ago, won’t
let go of witches, am starting to know crones. The band
will play Will the Circle Be Unbroken at my funeral,
plucking steel strings that weep for mermaids
wearing fishnet stockings, sing with angels
hanging Monday wash.