CONJUNCTIONS: A Web Exclusive
The Picture of the Spirit
—i.m. Barbara Guest
Clarify now that “you,” “she,” “I” do not know to stand except at an interchange. The pronoun is the inner ear by which the gaze balances. To effect removal is to make the image fall. Make the spirit, with her eros trailing her, drape us and make us unsteady, her fluid gown as one, unbalancing the parts we once were.
Say it, then.
Slowly the hand turns palm up
Seen that way, we spy upon what we look at. Profound machinery. The assault on the spirit’s mechanism does not to redeem but return. “I am going away” and “I am coming back”: both present tense. Dizzy.
And so I witness
Here, I record your fingerprint. Maze. Flower of tight lines. Faith is of the
contracting world. The
But the mouth cannot describe it so readily, this pressure from behind, shoved to move toward. The hand permeating the image plays at puppetry, so it thinks, but it’s the force of the image that enters the hand, the narrow suffusion of hand upon hand in unknown space.
Had you the ability
I did dare to look directly—when I was young, untried. A contraction from deep within aligned my spine with my line of sight. She was not benevolent; as the image has a purpose, benevolence was not it. She could say what I could hear. So I fell and with me her tenderness, aligned. And so I clutched it to me.