The Maze

I saw the
dead bird on the sidewalk
his neck uncovered
and prehistoric

At seven in the morning
my hair was bound
against the fish in the air
who begged for the ocean
I longed for their place

Behind the
tall thin muslin of the curtain
we could see his shadow
and we waited
not stirring
crouched by the fireplace
where the ashes blew out
later we checked the harbor
to see if it was safe
rather hoping
one had gone astray
and flung itself upon the shore
for all to watch

If I should weep
they would never know
and so I walked
shrugging off hands
in treacherous places
wanting to fall
In Williamsburg, Virginia
my uncle
pointed out the Maze
which grew
in the dead
governor’s garden
I went to it
and stood 
inside the
like a long hallway
the tightly trimmed
held themselves
pointing each
and twig
in an unquestioning manner
white gravel
caressed my feet
the sky disappeared
and I
could hear
the sound of water
I knew each corner
without pausing
Held captive in a cave
sobbed for his wife
who was singing high
from the center of a 
cobweb shawl
of their design 
three feathers
I picked
from a stone
in my path
and turning at last
I saw
the speckled bench
and halting fountain
which marked 
the end.
the curtains of the window
shreds them
like some
insane insect
creates a 
demented web
from the thin folds
her possessed fingers
clawing she
thrusts them away with
sharp jabs of long pins
to the walls. 



“The Maze” from As Ever: Selected Poems by Joanne Kyger, edited by Michael Rothenberg, copyright © 2002 by Joanne Kyger. Used by permission of Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.