Universal Atlas | A Survey Of Our Wares

Sestina Seven

Sit with me. Kindly untangle the threads of threat,
Filter my gasps through a splendid mesh of web,
And retire the urgency that is spilling into our cracks.
And let us at least embrace the sofa’s soft calling,
Where a sinner’s song is hummed low, hiding
Between a sorrow and a confession. Sit with me,

Toss your scarf on the lamp. You’ll enlighten me,
Please, with that tale of your knife-point threat.
I will never understand just why you were hiding
That cheap trinket in your shoe to start. Web
Weaves with web, and each word a hollow calling,
A siren screaming – pay attention – listen for the cracks,

The whip cracks, the cracker jacks, the ice cracks
Beneath the feet, the lake’s lack of freeze, and me
Now clawing upwards in a dog’s paddle, calling
Out into the endless white threat after threat.
You omniscient motherfucker! And a blue web
Of sky shatters the clouds. Where are you hiding

My ministers? I’ve no answers! No one is hiding,
Yet they all remain hidden. The minister’s cracks,
Both wise and regrettable, are archived on the web.
And there I was, looking out into the vast expanse. Me!
With no name or noun! Me! Honey, thunder and threat.
A slow, viscous, electric vibration. Humming, calling

Me a philistine as if I’d read the word of god, calling
My loved ones “otter bait” as if they weren’t hiding
In the local aquarium caves anticipating the threat,
That strange high pitched chant. “Step on the cracks
You’ll break your mother’s back.” And then calling me
“Otter,” and “potato cake” and “pumpkin”! This web

Is transforming into a macrame shield, this web
Will be the solace hammock that leaves them calling
For entry, hoping to share in my shimmy. With me,
Always, a sunray, a fish. a naked woman hiding
In my shirt pocket. And still you offer cheap cracks.
Your moonlight weaving, marble rye, brook no threat,

Beats no pulse in me, sticks like pumpkin-guts in a web
Of sloth and threat, like an inbred hound calling
From beneath the couch. Hiding, peeking thru cracks.

By Laurence Lillvik & Jeffrey Enright

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