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Heloise, Who Soon Will Have No Ink

are the feet
of the nine

The skin soul
wears gold rings, the
mouth soul, ivory

To lose a child, to lose Astrolabe.
All the fists clench at once, including
the stomach fist.

(To bear a light in a cave, now
that's nonsense.)

The demon soul swallows
chalky pills to forget–
although forgetting proves

I am cadence, a
grace, periwinkle
rain, the rust
of the dead
robin the cat drags
to your feet.
Yowls the archer

A child makes you vulnerable,
agrees the milk soul.

And who had
brightened at the
knowledge offered up
on the tin plate of
the tongue, the
sixth soul, which
does not bear
a separate term?  As knowledges are
catastrophes, new spaces, names
for what was heretofore

Armfuls of
tea rose and yarrow.
Sanwiches of cucmber, hewn
off their crusts.  Difficult, but
important, to remain
welcoming and

Here, in the
solarium, where the
last three souls
confine themselves to the
deities of even,
albeit, complex equations.

Thus the math
soul tabulates all
outcomes, tallies

The unseen
soul, the love soul,
writes a joke
about results.  You can test me, the
love soul says.  I will be here.
You will feel me like a
pinprick in the
blue middle night.  I won't
let you sleep.

Astrolabe and his kite, now, that
is the ninth soul.

The kite the
child plays with
damages the

The air mutters.
The sea spins out its quest of salt.
A fire burns in the forest.
Women dye flax fibers for linen.
The offices are rung–
matins, lauds, compline.
Years later, shoes are polished at the
station as a man awaits the train.
Departure is always the first step to arrival.
As waves crash over the bow of a boat.
Sun runs on the water, leaves
paw prints.  Decent
men and women everywhere stir
the morning porridge.
A phone rings in the future.
A lamp shines very brightly.
But here there is only a dripping, beeswax
taper.  The light is warm
but sallow.  Deliver me O Lord from the
tedium of this cloister.
Relieve me of loneliness, of the ecclesiastical
calendar.  Find all my
souls and brand them to my
body in a surgical
operation of precision and mercy.
Up to now, I have kept
them for safekeeping in this
idle stone jar.
Posted 03/15/13
Astrolabe was the son of Heloise and Abelard.
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