Friday, January 07, 2011

Considering, small revisions

I didn't like the flea image (see previous post), it didn't sit well with the rest of the imagery and the mood. I also felt the ending wasn't clear enough. I wanted to leave a little mystery and uncertainty, but to indicate the possible ending more clearly. I hope I've done that. Feel free to comment on the changes, but don't be too offended if I go my own stubborn way regardless. Sometimes, I like suggestions, and sometimes, they fall flat.


No screams show on the map, though you know
they hide there, perhaps below the cryptic markings,
the dragons, mermen and tridents. Red
bleeds the tattered edges of terror. Jagged, the ink
hemorrhages into the long fibers of the map’s rough paper.
The ink burns the flesh of your fingertips when you reach
to locate the memories. You stand on that cliff looking
down, twitching your shoulders for wings, but this isn’t
a dream. This is your life; each breath catapults you closer
to his opened fists, his fingers poised at your neck
ready to close. Suppose you ran? Who can explain
the geography of the heart, the way the blood and ink
of your story is ground from the same DNA as his father’s
and his father’s father’s? Observe how your own father
holds hands with his father; conjoined twins—they connect
at the out-thrust jaw. Note how together, they caress the map.
They paint your name across a heart with a blade suspended
above it. Small stars indicate honing, and the tip
draws to point sharper and smaller than the needle canine
of a ferret. From the margins of the map, they erase your face
with a wash of your tears. When wind fills with the taste
of iron and fear, and you consider your options, you take
one small step toward a hurtling topography of rock,
shattered promises and silence.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
for Peter, Joseph and “the General,” with love (Also for Brian Powers)
110107-0940-2a(4), 110106-1537-1c(3), 110106-1023 1sr—1st poem of 2011

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