Nine Things About Oracles
first, there is blindness. like the white moon
in her witching sky, this oracle is prone to concealment.
scale on her milk-eyes, iridescent, each blink
sharp as an oyster shell.
note her childish hands, slimwristed, fair,
ravelling the unseen silk. third is her voice,
keening like a lost hawk,
wild as a rose-wind. fourth, fifth, sixth:
count the nubs of her curving spine, warped
under salt. a sulphurous ocean
blooms in her, firebright anemones cling
to the tight-lipped carapace of her soul, waving
their soft fronds.
seventh is a mystery
as in the deeps of ancient caves she stares
at the blank wall, scratches darkness, weeps.
eighth is a syllable, sibyl-tongue
to the mouth-roof, breathing
the thick air, sighing go from here,
question the night sky, demand answers of the owls
and rivers, go,
but at the last, the ninth bell
wisdom is lacking. we stagger out,
clutching a small death over our hearts,
snared by a net of tears
but do not learn.