You smile, Leda, suspecting this is not a swan,
but man as swan: he purrs and wheedles,
a real mute, you know, would launch a direct attack.
Cradling his neck, you let his taut breast push
against your leg and he too seems to smile,
his upper mandible lifting in pleasure.
His feathers—they would delight any plumassier—
tickle your skin and each wing-flick sends
a rush of blood to the valley of your thighs.
But when he rears up on black feet, wingspan huge,
under-stains on his plumage alarm you,
the dirt there speaks of river-mud and secrets.
He pins you down, enters you with a ragged pain,
you scream inside and a stray thought flies:
When he dies, will he sing?