Women must put off their rich apparel;
at midday they must disrobe.
Apart from men are the folds of sleep,
daylight's frank remarks: the skin
of the eye, softening, softening.
Women must put on plainness,
the sweet set of the mouth's line;
the body must surface, the light,
the muscled indifference of deer.
A woman must let love recede,
the carved-out ribs sleep,
the vessel marked in bird lines
empty, as the sea empties her.
Say the sea, sound of leaves, the old
devotion, the call and response.
Reeds, caves, shoulders of cypress,
the woman who at this moment
does not need the world.