Daughters of the Abundance

They threaten
To let me through to a heaven
Starless and fatherless, a dark water.


From the glass capsule of a mirage
emerges, as a ribbon of steam does
threading with sweating transience the eyes which
needle-in on such a sight, a coming
revelation arranging itself in a column of
crippled women, an approaching caravan of paralytic
pilgrims who have traveled far to reach
this place of desolation, this desert where
every oasis vanishes as concealed holiness heals
in the sun, crevices of marbled flesh
opening like cherry blossoms the tear-dewed charities
of their wounds to meet someone new,
scars of rust deep as messages tapped-out
by prophets using flesh as canvas for
the gashes of their dots-and-dashes, nude as
lilies the curiosity of children has stripped
of their petals, little miserables out-dooming Armageddon
in a game of showing but never
telling when what will do all of
them in will ever even happen, milks
tears of mothers, theoretical and pure, figments
of archetypes to pray for, pours out
congealing pity with the coagulating nonchalance of
saints, reanimating the flow of heat throughout
amber souvenirs of captured blood, hasting to
taste again life’s force whose flavour stasis
has stalled to preserve its working of
miracles for those whose arrival permits its
flowing again, the honey of martyrs pissing
into whispers only a soul’s torn ligament
need wear to be healed to full


elasticity, spirits bouncing around the iron lungs
of a body’s prison, seeking to breathe
again the fresh breath of distant heaven,
here they come, a harem of veiled
wanting dressed as women, flawed and impatient,
seeking to be uncovered in the presence
of wisdom, to be given what already
burns from within, radiant as flame wearing
thin a jar of polished alabaster, the
woman at her knowing spins like an
onion out of her layers into the
kiss of a blade, shakes out of
her shawl, follows the threshing of iced
rose petals crushed underfoot into blushing flesh
bruised fruit perfumes well, gives up each
to her ghost-double this vanishing of her
soul into the thrust of a guest’s
hold on her like a spell, casts
down her crutches, believes her Self well,
spins and spells out what no wheel
has ever been able or fortunate enough
to tell: that, ‘Is this a conversion,
a conversation, or a confrontation?’ is the
question echoing at the bottom of a
well, answer howsoever she wishes, each of
these daughters of the abundance already has
what no hell-mouth can fill any man’s
heart with, the cure for loneliness which
is a myth the truth of their
beauty contradicts, this true wealth is, worthier
the reward whose struggle is more real.

1Sylvia Plath, “Sheep in Fog”, [Stanza 5, Lines 13–15], in Ariel, published at London by Faber and Faber in 2010; page 5.