Crowned with a feathered helmet,
Not for disguise or courtship
Dance, he looks like something
Birthed by swallowing its tail,
Woven from a selfish design
& guesswork. As if masked
With a see-through caul
From breast to hipbone,
His cold breath silvers
Panes of his hilltop house
Into a double reflection.
Silhouetted almost into a woman,
He can beg forgiveness now
As he leans against a window
Overlooking Narcissus’s pond
Choked with a memory of lilies.
Yusef Komunyakaa, “Pride” from Talking Dirty To The Gods. Originally in Poetry (October 1999). Copyright © 1999 by Yusef Komunyakaa. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: The Poetry Anthology, 1912-2002 (Ivan R. Dee, 2002)