ON WEARING THE LEGGINGS OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS
Not are they born of the left-most panel – of fowl
_____and fur emerging from a place of absence, from which
__________we perceive a layer of brown earth. Nor from God blessing Eve,
_____as Adam wipes the sleep from his drowsy eyes. Neither
has it come, this exquisite disguise, from a dragon
_____tree breeding vines like fungi, a pink pyre half vegetative,
__________half mechanical. Nearby, we find an albino giraffe grazing
_____on flora as unicorns casually sip from a mirror-glinting pool,
a menagerie’s weird vision that depicts a gale of birds
_____swarming into archways worn into stone, as men carve
__________huts into blue mountains, awarding them provisional homes.
_____Nay, indeed, has my splendid armour been spawned
from the right-most panel – that grotesque chamber
_____of globes, compasses, and knives turned against man
__________and his fleshy ears grown gigantic. We find demons playing
_____the instruments of our creation as toad kings suck
the marrow from our feet. But we’d wear not
_____these chains tightening on our skulls with each
__________tick of the metronome or strum of the golden lyre. We’re
_____trapped like swine as fur-covered beasts pitch tents
inside our guts’ carved-out caverns. Their camps
_____are lit by the lanterns of a city falling in the back
__________regions of this burning hellscape laid out flat as a map
_____missing its key. Like the lack of my idealized thigh
gap, it’s the triptych’s centre scene set behind
_____grisaille shutters opened like wings and transferred
__________to a spandex canvas that clings to my gams. Figures devour
_____larger-than-life strawberries on my ankles, sucking
pulp. Birds feed swollen lips on my calves
_____as gleaming pearls burst from women’s crevices
__________resting in clams. Couples glide in buoyant spheres on a lagoon.
_____While at my knees, I’m touched by eager arms clutching
for ripened fruit from the branches of my tree.
_____My thighs host a battle scene: owls besiege their prey
__________as nude knights ride in procession alongside swine and ass.
_____The pond dimples at my lower back, the floating globe
an alchemist’s copper flask. I model a stream
_____of life that gushes forth at my hips’ curve, two creeks
__________veering to a single lake as my body folds the triptych together,
_____making it whole. Bearing this dazzling tapestry,
I wear his inventions – his beastly ardour,
_____and fecund orchards, his eggs bursting with glaciers,
__________jutting swords and fragile charms, a garden both swelling
_____and crystalline – and he wears mine. Master of comely
visions, he gives me a leg up in this world.
PAN AND THE SHEPHERDS
All my thoughts are about my dick.
What else? I stand in the thick of it.
The devil hangs between my thighs.
His reddened face is circumscribed.
I wouldn’t call myself an opportunist.
I saw an opening so I took it.
I needed closure so I filled it. I’m fixed
to a formula – I go with what sticks.
My cock’s head feathers are au courant.
He reaches out from behind the blinds,
and crows in the morning, raising his neck.
He spits up like a babe held to my breast.
I sate my babe’s tender mewling while
the devil swells inside my abdomen.
His organ plays me down to hell.
Music brings me to heaven, and back again.
THE UNICORN RECOGNIZES ITSELF IN THE MIRROR
The sunlight stabs its stabbing rays
right through the trees and iron frame
surrounding this whole estate. It’s too
early to think, I think. It’s that late.
History’s so bright I gotta wear shades.
What’s a tric trac anyway?
The exhibit’s guard never explains,
flashes us a pamphlet riddled with dates.
No photos please, we can’t Instagram
blurry shots of ancient erotic games.
I shiver to the frigidarium underneath,
and descend the stairs to a deeper gate.
This tapestry shows the unicorn came
and offered his horn to that slender dame.
He giveth her the sense of ecstasy.
She wielded it with mastery
and held up the mirror to give him sight.
The beast smiles back with shining light.
I was moved by this scene. I moved away
and touched the narwhal’s horn on display.
How am I sentient in any case?
The clerk in the gift shop is so ornery.
Embroidered socks, embroidered cape.
The shape of his horn makes me horny.
Cassidy McFadzean was born in Regina SK and is currently an MFA candidate at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, Grain, The Fiddlehead, and Arc. Her first book of poems Hacker Packer will be published by McClelland & Stewart in April. “On Wearing The Leggings of Earthly Delights” is available as a broadside from Anstruther Press.