Mathilde in the Dirt
She is horse-hoof dust and cloth
and the lazy rays of sun will squat upon her unblinking eyes.
She moves sadly through the woods,
hanging from the back of a caravan, thread and nail have caught her hand.
She relinquishes her grasp
and tumbles to the earth, to the wheel ruts, a tangled heap of calico.
She sobs dryly for the girl
who whispered like a leaf in the autumn-time, with winter skin and breath of clover.
Now she's all alone, immobile in the dirt
and she can't change her face to greet the evening pressing, cold, around her.
And in the dark she can see new faces;
silver like the dew-reflected moon...
They laugh at her dress and sing like wind in the winter-time,
wildflower tongues and moth-wing ears they sing:
''We have a doll from a human child!
We found her floundered in the dirt!
Her eyes are painted pools of water!
Her skin is frost on the velvet skull of a fallen deer!''
And in the dark she can lift her head!
Silver arms and hands help her dance and blink like a firefly!
Underneath a bursting moon, twenty years elapse and soon the sun is up,
and she is cloth: Mathilde in the dirt...
She would gasp in disbelief
and she would bend her face with crimson smiles were it not for the daylight,
were she not a pile of stuffing!
She knots her brains remembering each leap beneath the gnarled and starlit treetops,
her flight through hanging willow curtains...
She wonders at the people with the caterpillar fingers and the cat-claws,
the beetle wings and clothes of lichen!
But now she hears a sound, a caravan approaches and she shivers in the dust!
Her girl has come to find her!
Now she's held aloft,
a woman cries and dries her eyes on lost Mathilde from decades past
who wandered far and wandered back!