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