Fall 2009

Edited by Blas Falconer | Amy Wright


Risen from the Underworld

Patricia Clark

Arranged on slabs of sedimentary rock, rough-edged,
                                                    beige-gray with umber streaks,
          circle of three figures sitting upright, holding knees in postures of
                              deep concentration as though facing
each other over a glittering pool or a campfire,
                       finding contemplation in its flames.

 Gray silvered stainless steel letters form their
                                human husks—heads, necks and backs, shoulders, arms. 

            I imagine them risen up, like smoke, from the underworld,
journeying here to pause, immobile, as though to instruct us in some
                                           kindred wisdom—

 like knights whose questing days have gone, heavy chain-
                    mail armor exchanged for lighter stuff worn now as skin.
                                         Not minding, they hunch without faces, mouths or eyes,
                    one indistinguishable from the other two.

 Perhaps they form a group of three muses—
                       quirky figures come to applaud efforts at speech,
           raw tries at understanding, while clouds go whiffing through the alphabet.

                                Stay seated here for eons in a green meadow,
                     trusting your own sweet time, they offer up,
                                         until thoughts and sentences swirl together from
           verbs, nouns, articles, particles.

Whoever they might be, uptilted on floes of Spanish stone,
           xeno-shapes posing quietly together, do they seem to
                                           yearn toward each other? Voices of those gone are drifting,
                      zigzagging through, a rough music laced with cicadas, grackles, flies. 

                                               (after Jaume Plensa’s I, You, She, or He)

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