Portrait of a Hanged Woman

The Greeks
had it wrong:
is not a downturn,
not a fall
from grace.
No, it is
the sudden
elevation of
a single point—
one dot
on the topography
of a life. That
is the crux
of the punishment:
the singling out,
then that brutal
uplifting, so that
everything else
is suspended
from that point.
It is as if
a steel clamp
had seized upon
one square inch
of a flattened
canvas map then
jerked sharply
the painted landscape
cracking in
creases, cities
thrown into shadow,
torqued bridges
twisting free.
A life is not
this supple,
it is not meant
to fold, to be 
drawn through
a narrow ring.
The Greeks
were wrong.
is not a weaver,
there is no spindle
in her hand;
it is a woman
wearing a steel
collar, wearing
a stiffly pleated
dress, which lifts
to reveal nothing
but drapery where
her body used to be.

Lamentation of the Hanged Man

The minor winds
hemmed all around
with little brass hooks
of birdsong.
They fasten
on me bonelessly
like failed wings.
They tug at me,
each with its own
pained sense
of imperative.
I am forever
turning in the same
idiot arcs, forever
facing the white-
lipped sneer
of the horizon.
How I would love
to flatten myself
against the ground,
to stop the small
crying blacknesses
of my body with the all-
sufficient blackness
of the earth. Even now
a rake of small-toothed
howls is dragging
toward us, combing out
the hills. If only
I were lying still,
pressed to the ground,
I might be taken
for part of the earth,
tilled into the soil
like any other
enrichment, like labor.