What Is a Cittern
G.C. Waldrep

Body of rose lie down at daybreak, ebony shadow, duplication of breathe. My voice is not essential. When a rotary covenant is unavailable the incarceration cinches, garment as from the late woolen centers of the deciduous plain.


(A group of INMATES sandblasts the east exterior wall of the Shrine to Music.)


Figuration of the neck, three heads—two human—armigerous. As for fray, for vitrine. What issues. An identity: a Maltese cross, a game of chess.


In a high place many men in rough tunics lie bleeding. Runnel of flagstone, litmus: legend. We pretend indifference. The ivory hairpin, the secreted cameo—all govern. Step onto the mixolydian scale.


As carved from a single block of wood. Head, neck, soundboard.


Open scrollwork: hieroglyphic of a nervous recompense. If one could stop one’s ears. And see, simply. As bolt from blow. The hand in its “cheerful” pantomime: blood-fat, like a sausage. Touching here & (now) here. We surmise. Imbrication of chalcedony.


Still the wave seeks, beneath muslin, through closed doors. If a hand strikes a chord and no lover hears it, does the forest advance?


For no sedimentary pleasure. Deeply worn frets.


One always suspects the forest but the forest is not always there. Cowslip & nettle: (breeding place for): wyvern, broken consort. As though come shrieking down from the night sky, twig of thyme left rustling


(The INMATES collect their tools, turn the corner of the building. They are laughing lightly, comfortably as they walk away.)