Dimnah Arethusa scries the fountain spurting in the lobby,
curve of four brass spouts for cardinal points, fixtures
hung on chains, shiny pressure valves.
Her almond eyes mulling the poolís kerploosh,
a mist rises when Dimnah passes into the library.
On the shelf shapes of foot, fish, tomato,
bird, house, monkey, all manner of forms wait in situ
as booklets surrounded by a shock of green air,
blue lines, red haze, yellow shade. Volumes in the Happy
Book Hotel library are not books with worded pages.
When approached they might cry out or move
hidden limbs, immediately prehensile.
Fingering fat letters made of some synthetic shift
and pulling a shape down, a reader announces a formative
new birth, understanding the selected elemental as given name
and surname. The room scathed by fog curtains,
enveloped in a vice of light from vaulted windows
the reader mouths covenants of names. Reading as naming
is a coloratura of titles for eloquent or macabre beings,
captions for imperfection, worlds, creatural whorls.
Dimnah rearranges library furniture to conform to wordlets,
shoving high-backed chairs, Drysdale carpets, butterfly sofas
into a circle for distinguished guests she will conquer.
A plinth is set centrally for spirit writing. Dimnah
plucks brushes and inks from mahogany coffers.
Stares of young immigrant counselors follow
and wonder her wish. These youth sent from the flatlands
as professors line up tribal stele in mica earth
outside the Hotel, their suitcases packed with dictionaries.
In the lobby their tongues click, eeks and ahhs, tricktrampling
her every sensefacelust or aggrosend. She sashays
from the library, swishes, dances before the fountain.
Piedmont lords lunge around her in a fishy smelling circle
dressed in shimmering robes and fresh from Leviathunder,
sent by muses from palaces farther east: Binslow Minsfantow,
Geesha Ohsimmie, Chindy Bondoblondie, Ahshet a Sheet,
Wegswind of Beastpraxer, Hotwaxer. In showgirl guise,
horndog Dimnah creaks a croak, livid with bindybuggle,
balanced on forepaws, hips angled, swishing friendly.
Shell crest print. Loops of her greasebaked hair whipping,
she charts points in air with amber-encrusted fingers
to crevices beneath her battered, ragged lace. Wrinkled rivers
on sunbaked skin, flesh maps the word routes
to her body country. Wings sprout shaking, Dimnah bends
into a bowl of Goliath beetles, scarab beetleurgy.
Face pocked like honeycomb through her lavender veils,
Dimnah burns a legsweep motion, she frames her dance
as crystal chandelier, thrustchinking,
she eases her pallid breasts out of their silken bands. Thatís the end of That. Dimnah deliquesces, declines,
lounges against a mound of ostrich feather pillows.
Tin cries of mandrakes from the shelves.
Eggs nogged and needled, Arablord professors quench
their thirsty tree trunks in their palms and dive screaming
into the goldfaucet fountain. They vow vengeful victory
and mogrify as lilies in the fountain pool.
However invisible, the educated drum of their voices goes Mooore, a little mooore, baby come on.
In an arabesque from a pillow Dimnah hops
and runs out massive cedar doors
of the Hotel into a courtyard of deep black dirt,
stomping her heels, emanating the oddcry of the almsbeggars, Satiate oh satiate. Better off in dust, away from the foulbungling
fingers of crow-beaked headhunters. Come bear
my flesh in alms, you hullbracken chestbreed. I rise with the om and om.
Ellipse by shadow, mortar hulk of the Hotel blocking the sun,
Dimnah buries further in cleansing clumps, clicking her tongue
for the next mirrortax meddlefield of grammar rovers. Bait!