V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




(O, to fly abroad again on her board roped to a limb.)

The territory that girl could cover, her eyes peering birdlike
across the grove. The air, a vector.

Return to the days of her swing, not this Minoan relic. To warriors
crossing the sea, ready to cross out generations with spears
then settle their weight down on this island.

Far past that sack of the sacred, I hear a donkey bray,
tied to the thorn tree. Hollow snail shells bleach on boulders
near the tomb entrance.

(Old inching of the soul,
                        thirsty for a last sip of nightshade.)

Solemn, the child who set sail for the other side,
her funeral launch pictured like a mouth that curves upward.

( . . . slow to speak, hesitant to ask: why can’t she smile anymore?)

The ossuary vessel is blunt, the remains were posed fetal
as if waiting to spring.
                                    My crawl from the tholos tomb is as dark
as the way in. Then down the hot path past the unwatered donkey.
And those white shells held the damp curl of the living.

(After she died, the child was placed in her chamber.
Small house of clay, the swing and its girl tucked down beside her.)

© by Katherine Soniat


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