Folklore     pg. 2650      Folklore


Begin with the equation: wood = bone. If bone,
a rib splintered, branch in fragments. Fabricate
from these pieces, the parts for a miniature ship
—delicately assemble her through the narrow neck
of an oblong bottle (if glass, then skin) to be corked

and kept. From bone, bone; skin, skin.
This is the beginning, so it goes in certain versions.
Others have a different first. The one forgotten
abandons the expected narrative, replaces, yes, yes,
with southern storms and thunder claps,

holds the desire to determine the fate of all things
in fingers closed to palm. In the earth beneath
a willow tree, she plants the handle of a broom.
In a decade’s span, attempts to harvest—
finds a serpent in the crop and… forgive us

our trespasses, those who trespass against us, lead us…
All those s’es. The sound of the snake with second sight
and the skill to see through reflections. A convicted spy,
seductive. Amsterdam, Shanghai—follow her
from a kiss in the aquarium to a climatic shootout

in the Magic Mirror Maze, take images in shards
—“With these mirrors, it’s difficult to tell…”—
replace with even more deceptive ones
—“You are aiming at me…”—
on to the next and on—“…aren’t you?”

Does he need to ask? He’s her target; she’s his.
The angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection
i r) an infinite loop: looking glass inside looking glass,
repeated from this point to the next morning.
“Put some lipstick on and dumb yourself down,”

he says. The sound of gunpowder exploding in the chamber
of a small room: her deafening response.
A spider web of glass, shattering. The impact of bullet
on his reflection, on hers. Killing me is killing you.
Me killing you is the reason the sun will rise, my love.