Lisa, Dancing

by Robert Herschbach

Taller than the men who chased
the crescent moons
that fell from the strobe,

you made the dim club
worth its cover charge, punctured
drunken brains with shards
of jade, turned a port pagan.

Imperial frigates ablaze, death face
of a sunken king to watch you
was to believe auburn ringlets
could rule a world, spinning
like beaded whips.

No doubt that night’s cabs
took visions of you
to many beds,

and no doubt dancing sailors
chose crass words to forget you with,
failing every time.
                           Do you ever
think of them now, in your new guise
as good citizen,

cutting out shapes of states
for first graders, teaching
the moon’s phases or the life cycle
of moths ? Far from any dark harbor
starred with bordello lights,

does memory surprise you
with strange food,
a combustion of silkworms,

or conjure you again
as a manyarmed goddess
among a retinue of eager men ?