This blue amplifier of solitude,
this rich wet loneliness calls Vivian
and Nimue, Elaine and Ninianne.
Who sends invitations to Nivian,
who sources her tendrils out to Nyneve
and Evienne. Who swam upstream to glass
fields where no hunters pried open their clade.
"I am sisters," says Evienne. "I row
the swan boats/I wear the crown," Nimue
queen of Avalon, Elaine, youngest of
the seven. "I talk to swords/I answer,"
Ninianne, Vivian reply as one.
Nivian is silent, one of them gone.
They came to converge; Elaine from the south,
Vivian from the north. Cataracts rush
with glistening foam. Evienne counts her
other selves, comes up one short. Nimue
holds fast to Nivian, a barnacle
on a bare breasted prow. Nivian saves
her but one sister is not as lucky
as Nimue. Elaine and Vivian
hold fast to branches dangling in the deep.
It's hard to live as so many. It's what
they wanted, really. Nimue, Elaine
and Vivian feel lighter, like bubbles
coming up the flume. The next sacrifice
leaves Nimue and Elaine together.
And Nimue holds her last sister's head above water until she gasps and drowns.
No more temptress versus virgin.
No more attempts to breathe both water and air.
No more hands, entangling each other like crabs in a pot.