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Mary Moore

BPR 48 | 2021

The yew’s needles, that mish-mash
of pound signs and hash marks,
tagging who knows who,

have snagged a small web:
hammock the eye can ride,
cloud snit, snow thistle.

The no-see-ums dot
the web and the air
around me, little eaters

who nip my bud,
whatever that might be:
a wing, a tooth, a brood

of worries. Oh small-blooded
ones, we’re kin;
now I won’t quit you though I can’t

requite you. You mob
the red and black salt box
whose white ate the snow’s

last year. Abandoned,
it bulges, a rock of salt, a block
assault on neat and put away

It memorializes
our lackadaisical

like Lot’s wife, whose
looking at the ruined
forbidden city astonished her

into salt. Why salt?
I bet she wept:
her whole damned body

became tears’
indifferent residue.
The weird logic

of metamorphosis:
by god: Medusa’s beauty
earns her a coif of snakes:

here and now, chorus
of keening, a siren
and a black and white hound

actually called Carol—
the two ululations
braid and rise so high

they hurt to hear.
Is it consoling
that earth metamorphoses

minerals, charges, urges, maybe
soul, and salts it away
into place?

The yew tags us all,
or will. The mystery
that luck or providence has wrought

is that wary and aware
even are, when witness turns
to tears, salt, stone.