Poetry 2014

the cartographer’s redress

By: Mary Elizabeth Vance

There are a few things one should know about holy land.
Translation            yoking globe, terrain, and atlas
is never lossless.
What you see is a different world from where
you have been. Lines
are drawn.  Where I intersperse space, inland
or deep between pockets of Ramallah, Ramla
shapes me differently.

Eve of the isle and I splitting into distance, me
to the western void of already discovered new worlds
which seem at same emptier than those routine, Angled mysteries—
           green winters, pools that drain to palaces, vice
           and modesty asunder to safety and irreverence,
           midnight sunsets and that deathless vert burned
           black by teatime,
                       all of nature stranger than the settlers.

I was the sacrifice
turned to light before I could leave,
horns tangled in the brush of presupposing
the answers,
           what moth tamuth looked like
           what resurrection looked like—
when thence the blade paused the boar
and pierced into the child.

With foreign language I recant     all horrors which found me
and in lightening formed me.
Give me the prelapsarian gauge
to measure island fragments into a gilded scepter,
           head like a serpent
           tail like a spear
like the fall or like Moses’ lifted staff, fickle foresight
of war within

promised land.
Candlemas undone
is            silhouette hammerteeth,
a scroll with the shadow pulled;
hand-tied and eyeless Karma mouthing unlit trails
into rivers,
daffodils flooding the sun.

Draw the wandering circuits to meet.
Furrow the page in every direction, blister the crease
for home. Fall to find the dimming this:
uncomforting the blindfold.