She has nothing to cover herself but the peel of an apple and an unruly square
of cloth that rears like a sail every time the wind or a pistol shot whistles past her.
Gone are the wool suits with their fitted jackets, the silk stockings with rule-straight
seams, the 3-inch heels she wobbled in over the cobblestones, the collar of silver fox.
Her eyebrows groomed to a perfect arch. All the women are out walking. Everything
has already happened. They have become shameless, blown hither and yon
in the skin of apples and orange rinds and billowing togas, unhatted and unpinned.
Lee Sharkey is the author of Calendars of Fire (Tupelo, 2013), A Darker, Sweeter String (Off the Grid, 2008), and eight earlier full-length poetry collections and chapbooks. She is the recipient of the Abraham Sutzkever Centennial Translation Prize, the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship in Literary Arts, the Shadowgraph Poetry Prize, and Zone 3’s Rainmaker Award in Poetry. “Desultory Goddess” is one in a series of poems inspired by paintings by Samuel Bak.