Sarah Maclay

Issue #
September 6, 2013

The Sleeping Arrows

The isle of rose, the river as wolf, a guilt-ripple
of wind—they come to me,

these gifts of misperception.

The tips are lead or gold,
in random order.

And nothing bothers my life
but the sense that it doesn’t actually occur.

(In literal sleep, the pillow was strong and cold.
The hand was limp.

The tongue: asleep in the mouth.
No point in teeth.

To the extent that there had been skirts—a cancan
of giant carnations—

it was the opposite of that.)

The commentator notes the supreme
innocence of the child’s face—as he lets the arrows sail,

the lack of guile
or even intention.

(Someone had given me a candle
in a vintage-labeled jar: Defender Brand Tomatoes.

But, really, there was nothing to defend.)

Then I see my shadow
is the shadow of a stranger.

(In the literal world, the arrowheads
were damaging, and stone

Then I see my shadow
close the door.

Bleached and saturated white,
divided by a moving frame.


It would be as though a you
could speak.

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