The Passage from Virgin to Bride
a painting by Marcel Duchamp





1.

He lifts the veil,
lifts the embargo
on touching

2.

Standing naked
in the center
of overlapping circles,
the Bride stripped bare

3.

The vibrations of his voice
enkindle flames over her radio

4.

Having entered the Bride’s domain,
a skyward meeting—
clandestine swashbuckling
in castles of cumulus;
fleshy vessels, funnels, and vanes rotate
within a vast, anarchic breach

5.

The Bride’s effusions
in Greek and Latin
suggest the Milky Way

6.

A splash, as of a bottle
uncorked--

or a waterwheel powered
by an unseen waterspout
whose spiral fountains
yield phosphorescent tongues--

champagne bubbles break, 
the Bride evaporates

7.

What began as an infinite response,
converges in a single, golden river
like a monocle fixed upon a candle

8.

the passage from winter
to spring, a delicate
explosion

9.

cleft,
the rock in the wilderness
spouts cataracts.