Thursday, March 29, 2012


He lifts his hands high, as though asking
for water to be poured into them. The needles
sink easily into his wrists. They pull the thread
down through the veins, choosing at every fork
the way back to the heart. The string dye turns out
not to be color-fast; it blackens the blood: where
the veins close to the skin had been blue, they
turn a dark occluded midnight.
He still holds up his hands.

Threaded now, he thinks of
the clew of Theseus,
the claw of the Minotaur,
the clay wound round with waxen floss,
the crusted and scabbed integument
waiting for when, if ever,
he lowers his throbbing arms.

Suppose a murmur rises
in the unseen crowd behind;
suppose that god, goddess, or monster
has stepped down, holding brightness
in a long left hand;
Suppose now someone or something
takes hold of the inner end of the string,
and pulls.


Kathleen said...

Oooh, I was wrapped up in this! And taken by the supposing...

Dale said...

Thanks Kathleen! xo

carolee said...

great sounds, too! blue/occluded/clew. clew/claw/clay/crusted.

Dale said...

Thanks Carolee! xo

marly youmans said...

Like the way "occluded" sets the sound for the next stanza. And that you go no farther than "Suppose."

Dick said...

Love this, Dale. Any danger of a new collection soon?

By the way, you've doubled 'of' at the beginning of the second stanza. Or omitted a comma!

Dale said...

Thanks, Marly! Ah, Dick, I missed the doubling, thanks!

I have a -- I don't know what to call it, eleven new poems selected and put together with photographs by Nina Tovish, that will be out in a week or two. I've seen early proofs, and it's gorgeous. It's got some of my favorite newer poems in it. And Nina's photos are amazing.

Dick said...

Sounds good. I'll await details of publication and availability.