While I, cured of lust, curled into the belly of a sail,
And drowned at the bottom of this mossy well.
I slip low, clutching the bisque-cheeked doll,
Ragamuffin hair, shoe buckle eyes,
She skips cross my belly in a shower of rose petal scars.
I think of you. Surfing galaxies that soon
Will turn to cinders, time will extinguish the sun.
And where will we be then?
I am here, in darkness, at the bottom of a well
Recumbent on a pillowbed of tears.
But I dream:
Skin on skin, the sharp bone snaps under the weight of her.
Twined and snaking bodies, the pendulous
Breasts of bulbous stone: Goddess of Groves.
I hunted for you long before I knew
What it was to be a girl.
There was a girl once that I might have loved,
When I was still alive.
But love of girls, when we were girls,
Was tangled in wisteria and shame.
Those chesty women on paperbacks
With cherry lips and dangling heels,
Taunting incredulous virgins.
I remember now.
The chance of sylvan maids is gone.
I lie here alone.
You, dashing in your spaceship,
Commanding seas of stellar night,
While I’ve become a crone.
Ellen W. Kaplan is Professor of Acting and Directing, Co-Director of Jewish Studies at Smith College, a Fulbright Scholar (Costa Rica), and a Fulbright Senior Scholar (Hong Kong). She has performed and directed internationally: in Israel where she also taught at Tel Aviv University; in China where she directed an English language version of The Wilderness which then toured in the US and elsewhere. Other recent directing includes plays by prisoners performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Her own plays include Sarajevo Phoenix, based on interviews with women in Bosnia, which will perform in Bucharest in 2014; Soul of the City, a finalist for the Massachusetts Playwriting Fellowship (2009), and With Dream Awakened Eyes, a one-woman show based on the work of Charlotte Salomon. Her play about living in Israel during the 2nd Intifada, Pulling Apart, a finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, was produced in New Haven and received a Moss Hart Award. She is working on a new play, The Time That’s Left Us, about inmates on death row, and Livy in the Garden, a play which she began this summer at the renowned Sewanee Writers’ Conference.