Are You Naive Enough To Be A Wife?

          for Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

          Was wantonness weakened by a whalebone
          cage? Did it waft from breasts exposed by stays?
          Were gasps ecstatic, laced into a cone
          of gold brocade, of girls around your age,
          strategically displayed modest charms,
          lithe arms in chintz — an innocence you must
          always evince, of convent or a farm,
          both unaware and unalarmed of just
          how many eyes apprise what swells and cleaves,
          your dress is formed to advertise? Perchance
          to win a wealthy life. Are you naïve
          enough to be a wife — en manse, belle dance
          in pageantry, piety, etiquette,
          pretend no one yet has made you wet?

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Rhysling-nominated sonnet stalker with sonnets in magazines like Glass, Yes Poetry, Five:2:One, Luna Luna, and more. She is the author of twelve books of poetry, including Dewy Decimals (Arkay Artists, 2020).   WEB   TWITTER