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,