You run your fingers through the thatch, searching
for the sealskin. Flip the mattress hoping
your swan wings are hidden below. Your back

aches with the place they once were, your blood cries
for the silk of the sea, the mirrored lake,
the belly of the forest, the high clouds —

Someday you will find that stolen cloak, swing
it over your naked shoulders, melt like glass
in the kiln of your true form — any shape

you choose — unfettered, feral, immortal.
But for now you run your fingers under
the mattress — diligent, demure, waiting.

The three swan-maidens. Illustration by Jenny Nyström (1854–1946)

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