Chapter in which an oculus opens

by Paige Webb

The simple shapes: cone, cylinder, 
horizon. Character is a style, yes, 
an ornamental curve. She hangs each curtain 
like a dress to contend with 
hard edges they surround. 
Any rug pinned to a wall becomes  
textile art. She knows that 
and pulls herself down 
to the bottom of a cup 
that reflects her surface.  
She imagines a separate house 
where she can gather all her fabric 
in a wreath around her waist. 
Who objects? She reclines 
into a low slung chair designed 
for relief. Sleep is repetition  
of a loud man, whip curled to a horse. 
Once she was advised 
to be more transparent, so she steps 
aside into a space one can walk around
with ease. She was told, be a burst  
of welcome. She is. A grape 
on fork tines. She watches the ceiling  
in the bedroom 
for instructions, where to arrive, 
from under another  
industrious machine. This evening 
she plans each detail, arranges the flatware
as she recites the speech 
that will begin Listen, Daughter.
She won’t need to teach her how 
to say yes when she comes 
to the ridge of the brilliant red earth. 
This poem first appeared in the Winter 2016, Vol. 38, Issue 2 of the Indiana Review