Today's poem is by Rebecca Dunham

A Leaf, A Hare

1. Penelope

To arrive, one learns to journey
        light, & so we molt, reptilian.
I coif seething braids of hair,
        a-hiss. Beggar red & sun roughed,
he tells of his travels. The loom
        that is his voice shuttles its tale.
Each day unravels. He chucks
        my chin, as if to say, really? But
this emptying defines us. Marriage
        a flaxen heap of threads upon
the floor. Not yet that morning
        I wake to alone, death's worsted
light cool as it strips him beyond
        my repair. Time's the harder course.
How could I not come to love
        the lay, its repetition, how it beats
the filling yarn into place? Patience.
        A leaf, a hare, still treadle into view.

2. Odysseus

Nothing less than the world
        tapestries her lap, a cauldron of form-
lessness for her steady fingers
        to pick amongst, calling litter
of thread to life. A leaf. A hare,
        haunches gleaming & bunched,
ready to spring across the linen's
        dun to its far border. Her lips
mouth faith. Patience. What
        was I to do when her chill body
held itself so distant? Root about,
        mud-mucked, until night's aching
riptide dragged me down, only
        to be retched back up on that
sandy shore? Her webbed face
        unreadable. A troop of swine
issues from her loom. Fidelity is
        a witch's craft. What was I to do?

3. Duet

Time is the harder course.
        A cauldron of formlessness,
each day unravels. Her chill body
        held itself so distant. I wake alone,
ready to spring across this
        empty night's aching riptide,
its repetition, how it beats. Is
        fidelity nothing less than the world,
a flaxen heap of threads upon
        the floor? A leaf, a hare tapestries
her lap. We molt, marriage
        a witch's craft beyond my repair.
It strips him, haunches gleaming
        & bunched reptilian. How could
I not come to love her fingers,
        mouth, & lips? What was I
to do? Arrive, seething, on that
        sandy shore, dun to its far border.

Copyright © 2007 Rebecca Dunham All rights reserved
from The Miniature Room
Truman State University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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