Poetry 2014


By: Mary Elizabeth Vance

1. n. "image-breaking," from the Greek eikōn, meaning image or likeness, and klāsis, the act
of fracturing or breaking.
2. a period of deliberate destruction within a culture of some aspect of its own identity: established conventions, ideas, system—esp. religious iconography, symbols, or monuments.

Time is an eyeless sailor shot through
with expired film, drowned
loud in goldenrod and emerald-coloured
in the confident jest of someone too far
removed from their source
to know if they are lying.            

You               my  Catholic  floodlight            peered beyond
           watery depths             
and split horizontal limits.  Rewinding the spool, seals spiral out
of your thumbprints
           reincarnating me. With each return I write eulogie
while you expire in bars
                       of light I walked across
           until I gave up the east and returned                         
                       your west
                       through a gap in Byzantium’s clasp.

The continuum is a lens.

this line of my travel curving behind me in water
till winds blow it inland,
a first draft, a tool
in a hand learning how to blend

that grey rise over the bay’s east corner,
stubbornly dim no matter my angle
or the shape of other weather, always
heaving me over its shoulder with the salt.

Your eyelids
don’t buckle like aluminum
across leftover dishes,
a razor detached from its stalk
or paper cranes;
each thin, but bending with different motives.
Contrast, his a mouth like a meniscus,
slack-jaws the words:  Who remembered the cold
when your chest dipped in            wide as a planet
                                   an unruly vibrant
and dawn swallowed you whole?
my hands gesture, shadowed and bright,
mimicking your medieval fire
that belted across adrenaline waves into the ageless stone             or what survived the
Reformation            of Castle Street confettied in tradition and pilgrimage and holiday,
numb with pleasure
           or death
or ignorance.

I have traced your only blindness.
Six months before your blitz into the North Sea,
I cross out the pendulum and leap from the docks—
reach for the invisible bell to strike the negatives:
           your memory resurrected by high tide,         lightning
on the reliquary—
furrowing             with morning
and brimming with gin
and Northern tonic.

Cancelling out my shape with your shape
trying to plunder the darkness
I watched the quantum exclusion principle burst with impossible
midnight and noon and four-score buckling under every bowing,
our two halves of a shared experience
blazing each other until the tail or the stone
let go.

The saints went unwarned

when Viking heretics                  and drunk schoolboys
           cannoned the cathedral to pieces.