blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Three Divinations

(divination using onion sprouts; to find out the name of a future husband the names of possible candidates were written on onions which were left on the altar on Christmas eve, then planted, the first onion to sprout indicated who it was to be.)

O father the light
here is difficult—low
and pointed
over the hills where you
high as a horse pretend
to bow to the other light

As I scar skins.
Spells in the capes
of the many selves, letter
on the knife, name wet
to the air, the winter
the color of the hare’s

Eggs laid not so long after
the longest night
of the year. Swelled
eye of the underground
blinked shut to the clinking
spade you make

In the dirt.
Blades fingering the clear
bone-morrow thin
as cellophane, as names
unhooded: green shoots
of thinnest spears.

(divination by tossing or balancing arrows)

What she is supposed to do: pull
the pins and replace them
with stitches. Lead
the needle through her
throat to surface on the skin. Hem
folded over hem.
The thread like a lock
of hair the mother ties
with ribbon—blue bow pressed
beneath glass. Girl closed
in the memory, buttoned up
like a dress. The cloth
like a clock, hands folded within
and arrowed round to mark
her infinite points of entry.

(divination using a hanging sieve and shears. This sort of divination is done to find a thief.)

When I woke
            my hand was the shape
                       of a key.
I opened the woods
                        the cul-de-sac.

The light was bone; frost lived.

My throat, an old pipe;
            my voice, a corvine rattle;
                       the wind,
            a song of scissors
                                  the air. 

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