you are in the diode archives v6n3



Thin King

Now, wake up: what does that mean?
I was awake. I was walking through a sunny vertical
maze. Stone “stairs,” edges really, parabolic as if
beamed from a line and not a point. Mothy, rococo.
Huts on the rim with cloud-bulged paper walls, hung wet dresses.
I met every man I was not ready for. Their raw spring
colors I loved, loved, rubbed pale off after a month.
In windows saw every great enclave of women
patiently dipping candles. Navy uniformed for each other.
Pink and gold ribbons for brains, mid-bloom, tacky
like mine, soft tread for the Saints, and so much leather, and
layer and layer and layer, and then what I don’t know.
Their grottoes closed. But myrtle-scrolled architraves & cornices,
reed doors, curling tendrils sprouting infants, or parts of them.
Icicles hung in old oaks like a barnyard of sacrifice.
Drolleries massed like stinging insects, piecing off observers—
participants. My horse bucked me and I was ready, skinned
alive. The man was shark-white, childish, not ready for me,
& I saw for once what ready means, saw my hands around its neck.



A salt marsh in the Hebrides says nothing for a long time.
Rubbed bony by lobes of glaciers and now low and sodden
with sap-slow rivers. Bridges no one remembers building.

Sunk in the ox-bow nook watching two centipedes
pierce a worm. Hens in the yews. He rips the thin scalp of grass
from chalk and gneiss: a translucence where below

there is a tunnel. Anger works exactly like the moon.
No totems left in his pockets. Bog graves are the dull way
to the future, no to it. He holds still as an ice star. Wind activates

the foggy blooms of a white tree, fussing limbs, and
clean thunder grinds near. Iona. He remembers a woman’s suicide,
not the woman. The gem red neck of the horizon raising.  


Molly Brodak is author of A Little Middle of the Night (U of Iowa Press, 2010) and three chapbooks of poetry. She teaches at Emory University and edits the journal Aesthetix.