Woman in the River

by Maureen Alsop

The woman in the river,
 tongue of fire’s tongue,
sniffs the juicy dark,
kisses nameless              death.

She, snake tongue caught               in a serpent’s coil.
Remember the woman, not a god, calling you
by name. Sworn to a secret death.
In that evening that does not open,

remember the woman, calling you.
Her sleep swims
shabby waves. In an evening that will not open
remember what you dared to touch:

her sleep swims shabby waves. Her indifferent hands
bring you back through the juicy dark.

Remember what she dares you to touch:
she, the woman in the river.