Cut loose from a clock’s single chime,
she is a barefoot jockey, a silver medallion,
an Olympic swimmer, wading night’s onyx
wilderness. Walking the lunar beams,
she is an aerialist, balancing herself
with a comet’s icy tail. Also, a peripatetic
psychic, saddled to June’s constellation
Scorpius, whose stars scratch like stubble,
whose pincers will pinch her awake
as their antennae beep and translate
alien electromagnetic waves.
Knocked over by unfamiliar edges
of sand, shell, water, and echoes landing
like slow motion cormorants, knocked over
by the sweeping alertness of lostness,
she sloops in the direction of the first
hollow, where the first sound
rode a pictogram out of the silent
phalanxes, escaping the brainmaze
once pictures and moods found sound
to slip off the tongue past the teethgates.
Flatfooted, she has never talked or walked
in one direction at once. There’s nothing
to do but radiate, until a father materializes
on the shore. His irises cabochon, his voice
so muscular, it lifts the ocean off its floor.
I’m going to beat you to death,
shouts he like a gun aimed at its game.
For her, death means floods, typhoons
asplatter with gorgons, boils, and boiling
water; death is when her father cuts
himself, and blood blossoms like red petals
dropped into doomed dunes of cubed vegetables.
The sea splashes death to death to death.
She sees white, goes ghost, goes deaf.
Every hero and menace in the sky—
A Huntsman, Night’s Watchman,
Orion’s Sword, a Scorpion’s Claw, they
all throw weapons into the coliseum fray
as she rides a hard-shelled back, galloping
back into the dark center inside the dark.
Image by: allthecolor
Original by: Sarah Wampler