Saint-Léon’s bright new ballet,
Coppélia, showed Peace routing War.
Then the real war hit like absinthe.
Louis, now Bismarck’s captive, lapped
rieslings up, not chardonnays.
September we dug in for siege
when our new French chiefs scorned to pluck
peace dangling like a ripe fruit.
No one can see through her enamel eyes
to know that mind that cannot read her book.
Her beauty clothes her like a grave disguise;
her porcelain forehead lets us fantasize
that she returns our penetrating look.
But none can see through her enamel eyes;
imagining a spark, we called her wise,
and now we fondle steel arms. We mistook
her beauty, her clothes, her grave disguise,
her mechanical waltz ticking like a prize
of sacred pleasure in a secret nook.
Soldiers sighting through enamel eyes
find warfare welcoming as wind-up thighs,
inviting as a clockwork finger-crook
till graves clothe men’s beauty like a disguise.
A private screams her name; a lover sighs
and trades a warm hand for an iron hook.
No one foresees through her enamel eyes
how graveclothes love a beautiful disguise.