james landis
the baroness
c. 1994
i
luscious like the sun at dawn
is the baroness standing next to me.
i quiver in her icy shadow.

  vi
an angel fallen pulled down by a heart of stone,
the baroness tempts me to repeat the action.

ii
as the baroness danced off the horizon,
i saw the circles traced between my fingertips.

vii
rended by polar choice:
to fathom the fearful forest fate or
freeze still more in the icy lace.
to wend my way into the wooden state or
pursue her in a hopeless race?

iii
caressing with her deep dark pools
the baroness fans my fiery eyes.

viii
reaching a final decision
i wheel back onto the path and escape the forest.
the baroness passionately whispers frosted phrases into nothingness.
the heat surrounds me.

iv
yearning for my august rain
to melt away her february frost.
will the trees not drink it first?

ix
once when the baroness played in the forest
the trees melted by her charms and froze in her absence.
twenty leaves quivered in glassy cocoons.

v
bearing six months news she waits
while i sleep in dark, in state.
when finally i see the light,
she's first again and flees to night.

x
never has the baroness fused in my limbs and
allowed her cold bite to penetrate my core.
it was winter all spring but the summer never froze.