It helps if you’re a king, or queen,
with delicate skin that can’t abide
a pea under your mattress—your body,
an unzipping of fate as you rise
in the great kingdom that enslaved
the barbarians, those beasts or plants,
your tribe called them, for you
absolutely nothing was enough
but everything had already been
done—how could you be a lifeguard
to fools who wouldn’t learn to swim?

Water’s a treacherous medium,
packed with light it releases slowly
into the very air those fools breathe,
an ending, like a brute stallion’s
quiver on rearing, a danger you
might say, unless, like Alexander
the Great, you mastered it, bending
it to your purposes, grabbing its mane
as you leaped on, flinging your arms
wide. So, you are a king, or a queen,
whose thighs can grip hard in order
to make things return to their places.