Her legs must be long as rockets, rubbery
as chicken bones soaked in vinegar.
She must be ethereal, hands like talons to stoke the tender coals
he gathers in the woods.
She must arrive on the tail of an exodus, an eviction, or banishment.
She must be Thumbelina-small, fit snug in the cup of a thimble.
She must reject him; this is imperative,
the sharper the wound the more ferocious his longing.
The air she omits must trap his soul like a fly in thick, yellow butter.
Her skin must burn in the sun, her kinfolk
fashioned like dough from the legacies of pillage or rape.
Her heart must cut glass.
She must flourish in the bodies of caves.
She must have wings that touch clouds, and speak the language of crows.
She must disappear like the mist over a mountain at dawn.
She must have no work to keep him, her only occupation
is drawing breath fanned by the circles he runs around her.
She must drink from the ruins of dead boughs.
She must aspire after the hollow in wait of a center.
She must evaporate like sugar kissing the tongue.
For this, he only thinks he’ll surrender.