By Sunday, say, or Monday. And a neighbor’s brutish dog run
carrying it off. To worry it all day. As if it were its own
foot, wounded. The way the cat licks her kittens’ salt-glazed
pelts, the watery blood-flora on the bottom of the box.
She eats the afterbirth, but not because its juices speak to her.
No chatter while she chews what bulges from her body.
It stains the spires of her teeth. Her coat is white all over.
And the deluded Cora, “White Lady of London,” takes her as daughter,
and crows to her through dusk, “my little girl.” All colorless
dresses, stockings, shoes, hat, she rice-powders her face.
She thinks herself archangel. But archangels aren’t female.
But fictional. But oblivious to this. She has a simple mind,
a solid body. Her shopping basket bulges: white eggs,
coupons, gizzards for her girl. But I who’ve also dreamed
of transubstantiation keep my stones unthrown.
As you keep your brain at its scatterpearl tasks. Your body
on its short string. Then when your blood escapes
you’ve let it go. Ruined your good white things. Cold brine
might lighten the stain in a pail on the stoop, but leaves behind
that rosy watermark. And it will float like fat in the soup
on every white field in the drawer. Like night-time
among the daylight things. But the mind creates its quarry.
The heart origamis, folds in frogs and cranes and crows
the flatness facing it. It aims its arrows,
cuts an eye-hole, a stone’s throw in the huge opaque.
You shape your kill. And what you’ve known comes falling down.
Falls far. Falls far from you. Wherever it will.
Miranda Field has been a recipient of _The Nation’s _“Discovery” Award, and her poems have appeared in that magazine as well as Boston Review, Colorado Review, and Fence, among others. Born in the UK, she currently lives in New York City. (updated 2001)