A poem by Nyla Matuk
I once napped on the chesterfield
of a great hall in Whitehall,
under the arcades and palms of The Australia Room.
A heavy Louis XIV mirror hung
on the high-ceilinged wall;
tipped a little downward, it lorded over me as if
a continental shelf or coral reef.
I dreamt of a steamship’s great black pipes.
And a man on deck ate the Tunisian dates
served him on a lacquer platter by a satyr.
Couples leaned into the emphases of tangos.
I transformed from snoring frog to froggish princess.
My mother only knows one fairy tale:
a princess loses a golden ball. A frog
finds it in a pond behind her house.
NYLA MATUK is the author of Sumptuary Laws (2012).