Ophelia to Ondine

Ophelia in the water aware
Only of the stroke and slide
Of cold beneath her frock and
Ornate petticoats, of how it
Offers solace to the bruises
On her arms and heart and thighs.
Otherwise, the snagging weeds that
Occupy her lagging hair curl by curl,
Over and under both her legs, rooting
Out from the muck below, might not have
Owned her quite so easily, and her
Orisons might have broken melody to shout
Out loudly for her Nominalist
Older brother’s help in time,
Or her Realist lover’s absent hands to do the
Obvious, just this
Once and save some human
One time in his ontology-
Obsessed life, before the water
Obliged her to change from myth to myth.


Devon Miller-Duggan’s Pinning the Bird to the Wall is available from Tres Chicas Books.