[from Laurie Sheck's The Willow Grove]
You must not show her face. Only the hands
where each granite planetary knuckle
slowly pales as if submerged in water, stripped down as after seizure,
those hands that now hold nothing.
And the rope: umbilical, predatory,
how it hangs so strictly from the ceiling
while her robes waft with such softness against the backdrop
of the palace walls, harsh walls. As if to say, But once
she was a child, once swaddled, innocent, even she,
the long ago and ever after faintly beating in each cell.
Then bring the camera closer, closer in,
it is important not to lie. And show how the robes are crevices
of riddled light, how innocence is touched
by fraudulence; there is no other story, other text.
No music to accompany her body. Only the slow turning of the rope.
Only that score that is no score, how silence is the voice
of damage, its taped mouth.
And her shadow on the wall, freakish curtain oddly beating
in the wind, blurred inscription of some lost intention;
let the camera hold it for a moment, then move on.
Here is the empty room, how large it is, how drafty.
And her smallness, for a moment, so pitiful within it;
the room like a mouth that can't speak, like the silence her body
has become, her body like a severed tongue.
And then let her body and the room become a city
where the hallowed laws are quiet, the gated storefronts quiet.
And all throughout the city's central district
there are rows of display cases, necklaces glittering
on velvet covered cardboard shaped like collarbones and necks.
Blue velvet, diamonds, gold. And rings lined up in rows,
hat pins poised like silver birds, white gloves
on plaster hands. City that turns and turns
on its invisible cold rope, and the shadows of the awful tapered hands.
No one has found her yet,
her body white as streetglare, the cold glow of the unbought
still poised there, waiting to be bought. Her hands frozen
as if molded, waiting. But still there is the question of her face,
the horrible purple, the messyness of crime.
The way the eyes bulge out like vats of half-spilled
paint, innards churning in the wind.
Not even eyes now, really, but the aftermath of eyes,
exploded. At least the frozen hands are whole,
as if some innocence remained within them even to the end.
But there was no innocence in the eyes.
And the hands cannot cover them.