M.E. MacFarland
M.E. MacFarland

Suppliant at Delphi

I.

As though across the wake      torchlight scythed
Features voided in      pieces      each one a cavern
unto itself      The body is our instrument
she said      pulling his shirt apart
We must play it well      O then came the land-
scapes cresting      Every mountain's peak      a cry
 
II.

It is like what was said      about architecture
about there being no      remembering      without it
that every scroll adorning the columns      
folds under some weight      that our skin must 
capture the splinters of these rough planks      
Lay me down      that I might submerge
 

III.

The thousand olive silvers      I will have you know
now      I will have you      measure my seasons
The sun's absence      and her presence
For the spirits she must see      the ones who claw
their way from the air      and make of us
believers      I can only      finally      touch her arm
 
IV.

What lies ahead      lies to us      It must 
be translated      sluicing down from wherever
the middle of the world lies      like a stone
luminous      like an eye      its circumnavigating
lashes tied in a knot      What's left of divination
of cupped hands raining      makes tongues speak
 
V.

Every figure glints here      whether marble
or varnished precious metal      or flesh      City of trophies      
city of proxies      of gestures wasted      atrophied by time      
The walls were caulked with belief      past its shelf life      
Nothing here that was not before      nothing gone
How can you describe theft      I don’t even own me
 
VI.

Dew diamonds the grass blades      sheathed in morning
shrouds what must be the sea below      after decision
comes regret      after regret      a thinness of mind
like the knife’s edge      letting the shine in
all my life      all my fires built for this
the embers still are breathing      but only just