The Maharajah’s Daughter (poem)

Waterman photo

by Wanda Waterman


I was walking in the jasmine garden

And I thought of you—

How in the summer, when you were across the sea,

I could feel your desire sway me with the power

Of a serpent,

Reigning even over my blood.

Tonight, while the cool moon stands at my window,

I will find your love letters

And spill them on my cot,

Steeping myself in the lushness of your longing.

You are not here

That I might smile for you,

That you might touch the skin that I soften

With olive oil;

Your scrawled syllables must do.

I feel like an aged, forsaken spinster,

Foolishly guarding the relics of lovers past;

Yet my youth is still within me.

When I walk through the marketplace

The eyes of the men become fixed upon me

And cannot be moved.

And I am afraid.

When I see you again, my love,

I will turn my eyes away

And there will be no need to speak.

I long for you to stand before me  again,

In the spring—

When the dew-weighted jasmine blossoms

Bend their scented faces together.

~First published in Descant, 1979

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