THE ROBE OF THE EPHOD ALL OF BLUE

           for Anna Rabinowitz

 

I would make my new scripture she said 

and it will sound reringingly against the old, (cold)

she said. We said it would work this way—consider

all instructions given, Old Testament to New,

New to Modern. Follow the rules.

 

A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a

pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.  Exodus 28:34

 

For glory and for beauty, an early lesson in fashion

also for decisions: thummim, white, snip scissorly;

urim, black for divination, for answer against 

all unknowing, resewing: spontaneous divination

through the folds of fallen fabric, creased

linens accidentally worn through wearing

weak transparency of meaning

 

he said (I said) a way to know is a reason

to sew—relining my favorite jacket I laid

out the scraps to cut and inside-out re place

the pieces…simple task for the righteous,

new linings in old bottle-blue jackets;

 

or “the lights and the perfections”: for return

of the ambiguous, meanness and meaning

translate only into language if at all:

 

love of scripture as a love of fashion—factory,

facile, factor, maker. Poet. Ring bells 

make the thing to ring. True.

Sound. The blue robe 

of the powerful filled a need, a neurosis 

of the poor for fashion fashioning, efflorescent. 

 

                              *

 

Against the cold the cleverly resewn garment

seals in the fleshwarm fervor; he said (I did)

he wanted to sound serious, whatever.

 

 

Who wandered against the crowded paths,

a new set of objects and arrows in his hands,

if not a new savior, a new Moses to lead us?

A category of catastrophe gives us hope, no?

Large numbers are new life (I hoped).

 

Still the snow fell furious as ever, ever failing:

fellowship of the cold continued to disappoint.

We who could listen coldly countered, counted,

ourselves believers.

 

                              *

 

What to wear what to wear. Such a blue

encourages where courage is due.

 

                              *

Here is how we would know:

through contemplation of the petals

of the poppy, folds of fabric predict

as surely as do the dreams narcotic.

 

Through stepping on pages strewn

then reading the creases connecting

word to word, image to image:

a full future lies. (Cartopedy)

 

A priest of the ironing board notices

the crease accidents of dress and desire

pressing and predicting.

Pecthimancy, or petchimancy: reading

a future in brushed cloth.

Wax—burning or melting or simply

staining the clothing she wore that night—

can be read as revealing.

 

Any stolicomancy will work—a future falls

with the grace of silk, of aerophanes to see through,

of baggings and baizes, of batiste’s visual

flirtations. The past remains in brocades

abbraded, worn into visual puns.

To wear is to wear, no matter how carefully

we sit and stand and dance at arm’s length,

she said, sadly folding her cambresines,

eyeing her zephyrous scarves.

 

 

INTRICATE PICNIC

 

 

Embarrassed by hunger

the birds feed and yet

they notice the world falling tattered; 

they notice the moon is

small enough to fit curled in a nest.

 

A Le Conte’s sparrow, one of three hundred

fifty-five banded and never

recovered. A quarrel of sparrows. An entire

crew lost. A ubiquity never seen again.

A flutter, and then flight.

 

 

                              *

 

My brother would read 

from my poems, would recite

in gardens, in parks in the days 

when “paradise” and “garden” 

invoked enclosure, secrecy, defense;

 

he walked at evening shrouded by mosquitoes

a punctuation of flesh. 

He heard their whine as warning:

full bodies to blood fly, fierce;

little creatures we are, too, defenseless

nestled, nestling infestation of self 

within self. Dream some evening

in a garden going to seed, late 

 

shelter to the lesser beings, the flying—

flies and bees, bumbled, burdened

creatures of the pollen. The garden shelter

 

—we walk

 

with various gods and fears in the evening

surrounded by breath, words, whining wings.

Old mistakes, made often enough, become

a kind of wisdom; go figure. 

 
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