Sestina for Miró’s Hunter
Some days, the light trims my edges
until I am a stick figure, raising my bow
to shoot the sun, the great roach
that scuttles across the sky. Other days, I lie
like a fish corpse in the dried riverbed.
In the old myths, I gathered olives.
I was round then, and green as an olive.
I clung to the orchard’s edge,
never complained, and kept a tidy bed
of wheat. I’d harvested only the soft tips that bow
in the wind, piled it all like a swan’s nest, dreaming to lie
in the shade. Like a girl, I slept as still as a roach,
which is not still at all. A roach
is like a shark and must always move. An olive
is like a shark too, because it cannot lie.
Blood is blood, green is green, ripe is ripe. To edge
along the horizon is to steer the bow
of the ship towards something dusty. The seabed,
perhaps. Before I was a hunter, my restless bones ground my bed
to flour beneath me. Every divinity has her own roach
that whispers the future. I command: Dip like a paddle to the water. Bow
to me. It doesn’t work, so I dream the day I vanquish my prophet. I pit an olive
like I pierce my enemy. Straight through. The edge
of the target is not enough. When anyone asks, I lie
and say I have always been this lean. I lie
in the shadow of an obelisk and remember my bed
which I long ago mixed with yeast and watched rise to the edge
of dominion. The problem with a roach
is that it cannot drown. It can live without a head, or in a vat of olive
oil. Once, I was mistaken for a bird’s bowed
neck, and I wanted so bad to bow
into that image, to sing a green song, bicycle across the sky, lie
in wait of seasonal change. Pinched between my thumb and pointer, an olive
cannot make a hunter of me, nor a flaming pipe, nor a bed
of bones. The eye is a target that blinks as fast as a roach
disappears into a crevice. Pink and lemon, the horizon’s edge
is now as sharp as the string on my bow, or the edge
of a lie about to come true. I think I am becoming my roach.
I can survive even on grease, a drop of sweet olive oil, and in a pinch, a sofa bed.
Emma Fuchs (rhymes with books) is a poet, printmaker and aspiring filmmaker. Emma has many homes but she currently lives in Lille, France, where she teaches English as a foreign language and dreams of endless summer. She is a poetry reader at TriQuarterly and her work is forthcoming in Soft Quarterly and Public Parking.