The unsold tarts, fruits sitting in sugary gels, seeds
sleeping soundly in the shadow of the great cathedral;
ruby water spotted thimbles gathered by tired fingers
who still carefully dropped them in the woven basket.
The holy water that sloshed out onto the sides of the plastic
virgin, trickling down her robes to the hem—dropping
off her feet to be absorbed back into the flagstone and so
not carried home in the doubtful valise of the true believer.
The impeccably poor grammar of the irate caller-in who tells
anyone listening she’s appalled at the crime; no expert but
for emotion, her children and husband unaware of her need
to dial the numbers, hear her voice in some other context.
The article on island living after the last ferry leaves; all
the women hung as witches temporarily releasing the feverish
clutch they keep on their rope scarred throats, calmed
by cooler mornings, frost-rimmed straw, the thinning light.
The baby who looks at her hands, two civilizations
to ponder, but then, exhausted, nudges her head under
the pillow, it long bred in her bones, much longer than
glittering scarabs, the ongoing need for simple shelter.
The jade harpoon tip found lodged in the whale
who swam with what tried to kill it a hundred years;
carefully chiseled and shaped, drying and pointed
once more to the warm north of a thick veined wrist.