the muse apprentice guild
--expanding the canon into the 21st century




WORK

BY EILEEN TABIOS

SNOW WHITE GRIDS A RED PAINTING

1)
The mirror became a fog to penetrate
After a boy picks up his father's razor, roses bloom in the sink water
I want to glow as if I am something a paratrooper must steal
From the run of a river, light flings jagged spears

It was easy, once, to harvest cinnamon from the wind
From within a silver plane, the rain looks formal
A husband's bruised face defines the color "gray"
How easy to bother sparrows

A sax explodes from a longing left unabated for years
If only the ocean knows when not to give
Sequins have never consoled
The Virgin Mary forgets she is a statue and weeps

I have never flung a peignoir over a red-bulbed lamp
Last night, all stars became anonymous
Fold paper into a bird, only to hear its plea to fly
Pity the horizon snagged by leafless branches (beset with white worms)

2)
An empty clothesline astonishes when, suddenly, the sky contains an edge
Branches grapple with Eve's ankles as she pins love letters on trees
I am grazed by invisible wings fluttering from a stranger as he walks by
Somewhere, fish silently stain a beach as scales leak lavender

The brass bracelet paints a wrist with the watercolor of thin blood
When the amputated leg sings to make its presence immortal
When ghosts continue to hover after night ends
When a girl slips on her dead mother's red dress

When I notice a tiny cross etched in the middle of my palm
When a boy punches someone for the first time
When my breasts slump with the same curve imposed by adultery on men's shoulders
When I remember how to curve branches after soaking them in water

3)
When I see a man paint a circle and remember a child curving branches into halos
When I see a man paint an enso with one stroke after I revealed a secret
When I reveal a secret by imposing its burden
When I call myself a burden for I have burnt all versions of my halo

4)
These lines also depict the failure to title a black stroke against red jute canvas-
the ungagged scream rising from the murk
when the light gilding gold on a cabin window
is not yet discernible within a forest's thick underbrush:

                                        that square light pinned by a cross


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m.a.g.