Sous Rature

Jenn McCreary


from : Magpie Augury :

for Christiane Piano

ONE  for  sorrow                          with each passing  moment,    I'm     becoming part of the  past.  as if there is no future at all, just the past steadily accumulating:  trade-offs & take-    backs, legion & aftermath.  the rate at which the human body falls. milkweed & thistles.  a garden of scars.  once crowned the Gentle, was caution & counsel, & yet.  when the eyes are slightly narrowed, the approach is always skewed.  you mess with the bull, you get the horns.  you trade your hands for wings, & even the statue weeps.


TWO   for  joy                           a clever little
house, walls red with sap, eaves of grass. a skeleton key stuck in the lock.  a grotto of velvet moss, creeping & hushed.  an obelisk of water,  an unnecessary footbridge. paper-whites & paperweights.  frogs in the trees & counting  flash to thunder.  an entire summer spent learning an obsolete method of communicating in a language almost no one knows.  seashell eyes & fireflies & all else you’d rather do than sleep.


THREE for a girl &               here be waters
where bad daddies spawned mad daughters.  an eye for an eye, an eye swapped for the language  of water.  the goddess summoned at the crossroads, & the Oracles & their ceremonial bowls. logos tells immediate & concrete truths; the Oracles tell better truths yet. a heroic quest in which you seek to acquire four magical      boons, one at each of the moon’s seas:     the Sea  of Clouds, Sea of Fertility, Sea of Ingenuity & Sea of Nectar.


FOUR  for a boy                        this morning the stratospheric ether is hyperpure—  I can feel it in my sinuses.  someone should tell the  bees.  keep your pretty head low.  I sense a weird week ahead, one with sharp teeth.  a leeching spring, a thing that cannot be put back.  this afternoon there were two girls in blue plaid jumpers clapping chalkboard erasers in the schoolyard. enter the Stepford Cuckoos, cue   the Greek Chorus.  the cause for constant vigilance.  I mean, case.


FIVE  for silver        that the world rests on the backs of 36 living saints.  that the white flakes in the first snow globes were tiny shards  of porcelain & bone. that astronomers who named them didn’t realize the moon’s seas were actually dark plains formed by volcanic eruptions.  that the human body falls at a rate of 32 feet per second.  that evidence of zombie protozoa suggests—. that she said, there is no real intimacy without remorse; but also, there is gratitude.     I mean, it's right here. I wrote it all down.


SIX  for gold                     terrible maths: dividing four hearts by infinity. cruel by nature, not by malice. that something that heavy could float. this  howling familiarity, this preoccupation with nomenclature. written in the margin:  I see your negligence & raise you contempt.  I have lost my mouth again— an awful grace.  I cite the etymology of mayhem.  I employ word magic, build quick machines. I project a more  powerful image  of myself to confuse my enemies. I mean, it's kind of my job.



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