Thunderstorm Stack

- 1950-

A bird flashed by as if mistaken then it
starts.  We do not think speed of life. 
We do not think why hate Jezebel?  We
think who’s that throwing trees against
the house?  Jezebel was a  Phoenician.
Phoenician thunderstorms are dry and
frightening, they arrive one inside the
other as torqued ellipses.

More by Anne Carson

from Pinplay

Choral interlude followed by Act IV.
How many pins can dance on the head of a god?
How many kings can you pin to the dance in my head?
How many dances left stains on the woman he was?
How many stains kept him quiet, O Agave!

[enter Agave exultant and covered in blood, carrying the head of Pentheus impaled on a lacuna]


Speak, Agave.

I’ve come with the pins.

We welcome the pins.

I stained them as prizes.

We prize them as kings.

How many kings—

did you rip the cheeks off?

How many cheeks—

did you pin to the delicate mouth of the mother?

How many mouths did she need—

to finish the meat?

Not so many.

A happy number?

A clever number.

A realistic number?

A frolic of a number.

[Agave raises lacuna high in one hand then lowers it gradually as her mood changes]

But then again,
actually, not much of a number.

If you think about it?

A dismal little number.

If you study it closely?

Just a sob of a number.

O Agave!


Your sob has a name.

How many names can I pry from the head of a pun?

Just one.

O my son!

[Agave tosses lacuna to audience with Pentheus’ head attached]

Nox [Excerpts]


gentes, gens gentis, feminine noun...

gentes, gens gentis, feminine noun...


1.2 Autopsy is a term historians use of the " eyewitnessing" of data or events...

1.2 Autopsy is a term historians use of the " eyewitnessing" of data or events...


per, see above per...

per, see above per...


mutam, mutus muta mutum adjective...

mutam, mutus muta mutum adjective...

Related Poems

History of Hurricanes

Because we cannot know—

we plant crops, make love in the light of our not-knowing

A Minuteman prods cows from the Green with his musket,
his waxed paper windows snapping in the wind,
stiletto stalks in the herb garden upright—Now

blown sideways—Now weighted down in genuflection,

not toward,

And a frail man holding an Imari teacup paces at daybreak
	    in his courtyard in Kyoto

a cherry tree petaling the stones pink and slippery 
	    in the weeks he lay feverish

waiting for word from the doctor, checking for signs—Now

in the season of earthenware sturdiness and dependency
	    it must begin, the season of his recovery

No whirling dervish on the radar, no radar, no brackets
no voices warning—no Voice—fugue of trees, lightning

Because we cannot know, we imagine

What will happen to me without you?

I know some things I remember—

the Delaware River two stories high inside the brick houses
cars floating past Trenton like a regiment on display
brown water climbing our basement stairs two at a time

Like months of remission—
		        the eye shifts

the waxed paper windows
		       burst behind the flapping shutters—

and how could he save his child after that calm,
a man who'd never seen a roof sheared off?

Across town the ninth graders in their cutoffs:
Science sucks, they grouse. Stupid History of hurricanes.

No one can remember one;

velocity, storm surge—
the earth churns as Isabel rips through Buzzard's Bay

A hurricane, as one meaning has it:
a large crowded assembly of fashionable people at a private house

The river cannot remember its flooding—
           I worry you will forget to check
			the watermarks in time

An echo of feet on stone is all the neighbors
	           knew of their neighbor,
			a lover of cherry trees

and of his wife who prayed for him at the shrine,
her hair swept up in his favorite onyx comb