Inside she sits and spins, decanting gold
and silver from her wrists. Her fingers bleed.
Day and then night. Myriad windows perch
above her head, brilliant birds. Through them
she cannot see the river pirouette
from a valley hung high, tumble, kneel deep
into a basin blue as chiming bells set in
obsidian rocks. Night, and then day, but she
cannot observe the stars, the sun. She scoffs air,
laps sweat off her chin. Straining to listen, finds
she cannot hear even the wind. The walls
leach marrow from her bones. The room
adjusts around her shrinking frame of mind.
She teases out a winking thread, curls it
about a spool, then wheels and comes again.
Rich filaments bite through her skin as she
construes the pile of unspun wool, rovings
of thought, symbols of winding cord, strings she
makes hum, imagine up a poem to twist
the tongue, cable to match a letter to
a sound, a drill that interweaves syntax
of word and necessary word, a song
to bring a measured meter to the hands
that drum on ancient wood. But this can’t be a life.
Flapping flamboyant wings the windows preen
and squawk, a flock cruising landscapes she will
not see again. The river in the rising sun
spits, spurts, explodes resplendent as a veil
let fall to hide a bride. Marry she won’t
locked in this tower where time goes. Her green
flesh crawls fluted as wrinkled sea. Once she
was brown and curious in the world, Now her
illumination is a crusted bulb
on a high wire. How did she come to this,
within without an inkling of out, intent
on weaving meaning as she strips it from
herself? And still she feeds the iridescent mound
so thick and plentiful it steals the light.
And are you sad alone? Not when I spin.
And are you sorry for the yarns you make?
No, for they keep the children warm. What if
you die spinning a thread? Die, yes, but never dead …
From Subversive Sonnets (TSAR Publications, 2012.)