“The Lace World” by Monica Ferrell

The Lace World.

(after a piece of sixteenth-century Breton lace)

How eerie it all is, as if linked by synapses;
a face stutters out of the cloud of lace,
a tiny decorative lion dances in a frieze,
a woman, needy arms outstretched, holds on

to thread bulwarks against some unseen flood
while her body dissolves into netting, the knots
widen and widen until the limn of her
is finished, she melted to loops of distance … and isn’t

that how you’ve transformed, once-love, while
this strait sleeping-car, this time
spirits me away from you and that night we lay
two palms folded to each other in prayer:

how the cat yowled to be let in! and the moths,
darting abortively forward, all ended up
by clinging to the screen in the sleep-sacs
of their wings, while I rolled to the top of my tongue

that word which would end everything and
like Sisyphus, let it fall.

Nothing
brings that second back, yet nothing gets lost;

hours that separate me from you only
tighten the memory-chain, where my thoughts
like these light acrobats trapeze;
in the white spiderwebbing, in the network

here’s a sea serpent, a helmeted soldier,
a boy pausing to sing, two dogs leaving a fountain,
someone pushing aside a harp.
The tiny o of her mouth. Those gouged-out holes, her eyes.

Monica Ferrell , published 2005. Slate Magazine .

The Lace World – Modern Breton lace

from, The Book of Contemporary Indian Poets, ed Jeet Thayil . Bloodaxe Books 


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