Cattails tremble along the moonlit bank.
A shadow lengthens across what’s left of the dock.
Its post submerged, a rusted lamp like a clock
creaks time, answering each wave with a desolate clang.
Not far upriver is where she burned and sank.
Tobacco hangs now inside Château Roc,
its eaves and gables, home to a wayworn flock
of crows. Its kitchen’s the stomping ground for a gang
of rats. In the music room, tossed on a gown
left by the clavichord awaits Arbeau’s
Belle qui tiens ma vie ―beneath “Thoinot”
Now a soft kiss―aye, by that kiss, I vow
an endless bliss. inscribed within a rose
an hour before To Helena went down.
Mark Mansfield’s poems have appeared in The Adirondack Review, Bayou, Blue Mesa Review, The Evansville Review, Fourteen Hills, Limestone, Magma, Potomac Review, Salt Hill, Scrivener, Tulane Review, Unsplendid, Waccamaw, and elsewhere. He holds an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins and was a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee. Currently, he lives in upstate New York.