Jean Hartig

The Dream of the Suitor

“Why this overmastering need to communicate with others?”
Virginia Woolf, “Montaigne”

Take the archer,
take the cool gloss of muscle

tense toward
absolute unangledness.

Take the field of her
sueded artery providing

a perfect channel
to finish the length of her,

the lock of her hinges
positioned to posit

a body in the grasses,
the question between them

so broken with love.
How she closes

upon her x-point, solitary,
how she closes in the thicket,

and this makes her whole.
Unregretted, unerred, desuppled, enforged.

Determining the animal,
laying it down.

Despite the tangle
her secret hooks

flock in the earth behind her.
The animal is of most use

prostrate and cooling,
a matrix devised for consumption.

But the animals themselves,
the animals are hungry.


Always the animals are hearing
the end of things,

the death of them
by digital shrapnel.

That is, hands
disintegrating a system—

the cool moon of a thigh,
that forsook and hungry country,

one verse of death lifted
off her in a tremor of daybreak—

or wise children slicing their eye
through the cannibal depictions

of light on the staircase.
The brute and hush of it,

like promises of early love.
This could happen

any time of day

or night. We must be very quiet.


We looked for her after
it appeared the animals had turned away,

resewn within the construct,
or fading behind it.

Finery produced itself
on the other side

of the menagerie,
the other side of the wall,

and protection receded from fashion.
We looked for her

where the smallest of us had bled
where the sky inverts, on the backs of beds.

We looked for her and when we caught
a notion crawling smally

at the edge of the field—unconcerned—
we learned to parse the figure of her,

by palm, by snout,
though her camp was fled.

Where is the end where is the end
where is the end of these people?