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Fable of Flesh

by Hadara Bar-Nadav

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’s recent publications appear or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Chelsea, Indiana Review, The Journal, Quarterly West, TriQuarterly, Verse, and other journals. Her book of poems, A Glass of Milk to Kiss Goodnight, was chosen by Kim Addonizio for the MARGIE First Book Prize and will be published in spring 2007. (8/2006)

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