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  • Three Poems
  • Virginia Hooper


The hauntings laced themselves into another year,Grew into miracles and fertilized the grass. Spinning absent-mindedly,

A thump and a rattle intercepting my dream, I clutched in fury to my story, And, uncertain on which side of the glass I had landed,

I turned the page to the first window and climbed through.A cord by which a weight is suspended To test the perpendicularity or depth of a thought.

Anything resembling a plume or feather. To adorn, dress,Or furnish with plumes. The thread had vanished Through the maze lined with brilliant blue, an opulence

Amazing as the strutting peacock crossing my path.The hauntings came more frequently, Settled across the lawn, warmed the eaves. Is this the lesson

We were destined to create, tracing sweet edges onto everything, Legibly exchanging all the fettered excuses With a lovelier version dangling off into the clear deep pool?

A division or boundary marked or conceived Between adjoining areas. The cord plumbed my ignorance. The plot stretched endlessly, they reported, endlessly

Repeating what came to me one evening Persuading the windows to cloud, the stars to brighten, the moon to retreat demurely behind

A dark sense of urgency. As though the mist itself were a mirth Yet grounded into body. Demanded in haste, Given under duress, a rattled mention remained for dinner

Clearing the table until the chairs were neatly arranged For company. We invited only those missing All sense of propriety. All cleverness concealed. All desserts aflame

With sweetened promises wrapped in tinsel foil Tucked under the waiting pillow. The room was elsewhere. The explanation unravelled beyond my understanding,

Hedged the border with a wait and see attitude. Every applicant was scrutinized as a potential messenger. But me, that was the problem. Me. Trespasser

Pressed into service by an aimless habit, a naggingObsession drawing me back to the entrance. Relentlessly cripplingMy desire to move on. Relentlessly sending me on

An errand that folded me back upon myself.Was this the curse of my preoccupation? Or merely my blessing. To mingle and combine

So as to obscure or harmonize the varying components, The concerns, they called them, compulsions pushing through The soil until a garden emerged, organized

And flowered new responsibilities — life, they said — Kept me awake all night. The river remained the same. But more and more, so did I. Looking the part,

Aimless but energized by a new vision Acquired in darkness, stuffed into my pockets and taken home. A fortified watchtower, squinting against the light,

Caught in the middle of the sacred chamber Whose floors were laid with marble, Whose walls held special insight into a vision

Pared for comfort, shaved and scaled to match the era, Chimed the hours. Measured in the stone Of an old extravagance, a mystery reverberating the present

Until lights sing, darkness speaks the spell Lingering in the confusion, as though the hauntings Were Enlightenment itself. The distance to be travelled

At any cost, its systems and roads mapping vast Expanses of mind over matter — a mere restoration Supporting the vaulted roof. These copies

And originals identical. Looking for some way in, Circling the distance to be travelled, I thumbed through these illustrations of the profound.

The cord weighed heavily upon me, sunk deeper Than my memory allowed. Than my mother allowed. The cord pulled me back to the old intersection,

Laid me bare to be dressed in the plumes of her intrigue. But was I the trespasser? Lured back again With the knowledge gleaned from experience, the old promise

Made by us both. To encircle by winding or weaving, Endlessly revolving back to the place of origin. The logic and elegance of the interior carried me

Through its argument, an alphabet building Its own structure to house an idea hidden In these secret vaults. I wandered aimlessly.

Here was design trimmed to fit The particular niches of the puzzle, a maze of concentration Broken only by generations turning the soil.

The thought stood perpendicular as a stave Beside me, a mechanism assigning me greater responsibility, A trick played well, posted as sentry.

They say crusaders were killed endlessly flitting and filing away The various pieces...

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