Self Portrait as Hurry and Delay
[Penelope at her Loom]
So that every night above them in her chambers she unweaves it.
Every night by torchlight under the flitting shadows the postponement,
working her fingers into the secret place, the place of what is coming undone,
to make them want her more richly, there, where the pattern softens now,
to see what was healed under there by the story when it lifts,
by color and progress and motive when they lift,
the bandage the history gone into thin air,
to have them for an instant in her hands both at once,
the story and its undoing, the days the kings and the soil they’re groundcover
against choice against offspring against the minutes like turrets
building the walls, the here and the there, in which he wanders searching,
till it lifts and the mouth of something fangs open there,
and the done and the undone rush into each other’s arms.
A mouth or a gap in the fleshy air, a place in both worlds.
A woman’s body, a spot where a story now gone has ridden.
The yarn springing free.
The opening trembling, the nothing, the nothing with use in it trembling–
Oh but is it wide enough to live on, immaculate present tense, lull
the threads running forwards yet backwards over her stilled fingers,
the limbs of the evergreens against the windowpane, the thousand hands,
beating then touching then suddenly still for no reason?
now her fingers dart like his hurry darts over this openness he can't
find the edge of,
like the light over the water seeking the place on the water
where out of air and point-of-view and roiling wavetips a shapeliness,
a possession of happiness
a body of choices among the waves, a strictness among them, an edge
to the light,
something that is not something else,
until she knows he’s here who wants to be trapped in here,
her hands tacking his quickness down as if soothing it to sleep,
the threads carrying the quickness in on their backs,
burying it back into there, into the pattern, the noble design,
like a stain they carry past a sleeping giant,
the possible like kindling riding in on their backs,
the flames enlarging and gathering on the walls,
wanting to be narrowed, rescued, into a story again, a transparence we
can’t see through, a lover
approaching ever approaching the unmade beneath him,
knotting and clasping it within his motions,
wrapping himself plot plot and denouement over the roiling openness....
Yet what would she have if he were to arrive?
Sitting enthroned what would either have?
It is his wanting in the threads she has to keep alive for him,
scissoring and spinning and pulling the long minutes free, it is
the shapely and mournful delay she keeps alive for him the breathing
as the long body of the beach grows emptier awaiting him
gathering the holocaust in close to its heart growing more beautiful
under the meaning under the soft hands of its undoing
saying Goodnight goodnight for now going upstairs
under the kissing of the minutes under the wanting to go on living
beginning always beginning the ending as they go to sleep beneath her.
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