Home > Poetry > Fable of Flesh
Published: Sat Jul 1 2006
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Fable of Flesh

after Giacometti’s Palace at 4 AM

At 4 AM the bells
_              __              _swallow their keys
_              _and a spine swings in its cage.

If the woman is a dream
_              __              _what the spine dreams of
_              _warm balcony at the top of the tongue,

how many rooms does she bring?
_              __              _Stories hung about her neck
_              _and waist like the iron weight

of a dowry. Hair tightly pulled
_              __              _and a burlap dress, nevertheless
_              _toothsome in shadows, statuesque.

The temple pauses on one foot
_              __              _to listen to the deep between
_              _breaths. Who knew a world

of crutches and stilts awaits,
_              __              _a tilt just above sinking?
_              _The palace hears branches

canticle in winter; the palace
_              __              _longs for Avignon in spring.
_              _The splintered aftermath—

an abstract of wood, glass,
_              __              _wire, string, and a pair
_              _of wings stretched and pinned

to the walls. Here we are flightless
_              __              _but we are not alone here
_              _we are so thin.

Hadara Bar-Nadav is the author of five collections of poetry and two chapbooks, among them The Singing Pills (Four Way Books, forthcoming 2024), winner of the Levis Prize in Poetry; The New Nudity (Saturnalia Books, 2017); *Lullaby (with Exit Sign) *​​​​​​(Saturnalia, 2013), awarded the Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize; The Frame Called Ruin (New Issues, 2012); and A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight (Margie/Intuit House, 2007), which won the Margie Book Prize. Her chapbook, Show Me Yours  (Laurel Review/GreenTower Press, 2010), was awarded the 2009 Midwest Poets Series Award. She is also co-author, with Michelle Boisseau, of Writing Poems, 8th edition (Pearson/Longman, 2011). Her work has appeared in Beloit Poetry JournalColorado ReviewAGNIDenver QuarterlyThe Iowa Review, *The Kenyon Review, *PloughsharesPrairie SchoonerTriQuarterly, and elsewhere. An NEA fellow, she teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. (updated 4/2023)

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