The Unwritten Volume
Elle’s writing her book of wisdom.
She writes until she cannot hold her pen.
The labyrinth miraculously is uncovered.
An American woman’s progressing on her knees.
She read something but not Elle’s book.
No one will read Elle’s book.
I walk the circular path, first the left side,
then the right, casting petals to the north,
east, south, and west (this intuitively).
A diminutive prelate shoos me away.
When he leaves, I return to the center.
The organist, practicing, strikes up Phantom.
Elle says she cannot hear him.
Elle! I cry, I cannot see you.
I had prayed Death spare you.
Remember our meal among the termites
of Arcadia Street, that cottage of spirits
with its riddled beams and long veranda
bordered by plantain trees, and the spiral
you traced for me on scrap-paper?
I kept it for such a long time.
The organist, of course, is playing Bach.
A boy has scattered the petals I threw.
Elle’s voice surrounds me.
To quiet hills I lift mine eyes.
From In June the Labyrinth (Red Hen Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Cynthia Hogue. Used with the permission of the poet.