THE NAIADES APPEAR AT THE DEATHBED
OF JOHN WILLIAM WATERHOUSE
It is true that when they came
they were not so unfamiliar
as I had expected, though I
didn’t guess at first
they’d come for me. They were
as the painters had depicted them,
tawny, lithe, fresh-visaged.
And their song, ah their song,
more of the syrinx than the larynx.
The pain I felt in every wasted
fragment of my body ebbed and
eased away. I was young again.
The branches of the trees parted
and filled with light. There was
a sense of déjà vu but perhaps
that is true of all endings. There was
no resistance on my part; how
could there be? I was entering
the unknown which inhabits all women.
Consider that I who had loved life
conformed to my final transformation.