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Readings — From the September 2019 issue

Sundowner

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From ECLIPSE, a manuscript in progress.

It began with black maps. Distant points of light.
Connecting the dots, she could see shapes forming in the firmament.
Fragments of bodies. An arm. A knee. The head of a horse.
Then like the writing of history, lines in the sand as the waves rolled in.
A great bell tolled once, & no more.
The medusa danced before her, flaunting its translucent skirts.
A hand rose out of the deep holding le mot juste, a blue pearl.
Thousands of songbirds flocked the darkening sky, an invisible river of wind,
      of wings.
What was there was not there, disappearing in the fold, furrowing the field.
A pink comb passed through thinning hair.
Glimmer of ashes. Fall of a leaf.
Inside its gigantic crystal, the world, turning, suffered its magnetic sleep.
Shadows flowed like stately swans, white telephones to the unborn & the dead.
We live our lives like islands in the sea, she thought.
In tarnished silver light the royal ravens spoke la langue verte, the green tongue
      of living speech.
She woke in a small, cold bed, being fed by strangers.
Had she packed her nightgown? Had she left her teeth on the boat?
“The word ‘cause’ is an altar to an unknown god,” a voice warned.
“When you strike at a king, you must kill him.”

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