I start to write fragments

as much to myself as to another.

(Who lives in my mind?

Can the mind hold its hope?)

I want to write:

The trees are bursting into bloom.

I felt it, though it did not come

in that particular way, the sentence endstopped.

Could sense come in feverish script

finicky with rhyme, sharp as a wave?

Or was that the wrong way around?

The hold of things was perpetually askew,

hard as I tried to figure it through:

a branch surprisingly stout

thrust out of the main trunk

level with my ankle,

the slash in it bright gentian,

cupped in a bracelet of dew.


I cannot see my mother.

Yet I see Agamemnon striding up the hill

his fists turned to butter,

his small girl led quietly to the mast.

How can I bring the Greeks and Indians

together like this?

Menander will not help.

He will not answer questions put to him.

I must make a child I know so well

crawl to Iphegenia

who still hears voices in dreams:

What is that star that swims across the sky?

Her father speaking,

or is it mine, palms raised under a blue sky

Some things are not in our power.

Longing for his power to be quick.

Love like a black stone,

whatever that might mean.

What can the poem stay?

A shore line razed by dark fishing lines

as Iphegenia knelt head turned to the east

murmuring: amma come, come quick!

As if a mother’s hands could

thrust the sail back into time’s rift,

shield a young throat bared to the wind.

Why did he do that?

What was Agamemnon’s rage?

What might have become of Iphegenia

growing older

had she survived?

In seeking answers

the hardest script will do.

A child’s upright hand —

stony syntax, slow work

in part-time English

trying to forge an honest sentence

such as:

Someone has cut her cords.

Or: Someone will swim further

and further from what she feels is the shore

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