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.