The Stringing of the Bow

by Robiny Jamerson

          The keys are in my hand. I know it

and I hear them there. The mailboxes, loosely locked

(sometimes not) wait for filling. There, ahead—glass

          all ecstatic with the gold glaze of grass in the act

of shining. Being shone upon. 


          The day must go. The bus stops, cries, goes. 

The bodega wakes into being and the cart

crosses. This is the eternality that

          gleamed in the shield of Achilles: the glare of cold street

uncobbled, the taxi alight,


          the abomination of morning

street work—the trash truck like the birdcage of a clock

that held Provence to smitten cadence. Chiming

          corrugated mailboxes tap open, tap still and

linoleum glows like a bone.  


          I have a night five floors above me—

it wants my body back to collapse in the dark.

I held court in that right-handed sleep til the

          metered rapping of jackhammers woke me to the red

rugged staircase. The hourglass flips;


          everything is the same. As shadows

make different parts of the same trinket we all wield

keys like gods wield their breasts the way Venus wilts 

          in her shell that pearls like my face does to the lightboxed

glow of glass doors that fingernail


          luminescence—or if not the glow

of body then the salt of Titian’s fish behind

glass as Europa is stolen the bullhorn

          blows morning and I am here in glass, filled and fraught with

growling thoughts. I am numbered


          mailboxes. Another M bus goes,

its light broken into illegibility.

The parkface chars and hides its marvelous gut—

          the softwater core where a sunstreak axel spins its

reservoir like a global dime.


          The ring of keys sounds like shattering

or shuddering. The door conceives and is conceived

as Death and Sin lip over themselves and so

          join in the American knot of coiled arrows

and Eros how it just takes a


          flick on the rim of that dime to make

a world that tinkers towards the edge of a table

and any flicked word is suddenly prenatal

          while a door opens to a third dimension and I 

am suspended or maybe spun 


          toward the edge of white linoleum—

away from mailboxes that wait and wag. Away

again from Ithaca. Away from purple

          blankets patted flat. I hear my keys and feel cold glass.

Cold smell of bandages and gas.



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