Christopher Bakken


She moved a little when the wax inside
began to river. Wine gushed to the wing-buds.

An entire meteorology
engorged the pomegranate she holds,
her two-ton wrist extended into space.

It takes centuries to admit some things:
the leather strap set loose upon her ankle,
currents of her chiton when she inhales,
the idea of Maria Callas on her tongue.

Had sing.
Now had been.

She has earned the rage of forty sybils.
Her mind is unfettered by symbols.

The scars decorating her arms
were made by the chisel or a blade?

Had fly.
Now had rise.

I had to invent a new verb tense
to explain the stillness of those wings:
both present and past perfect,
entirely useless as speech.

With it, I counted my heresies
along the rosary of her spine.