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Argil - Pure Clay
Kate Kingston

I want a page that will split open like a thousand
daughters, spilling dreams and pencils,
like water breaking from the womb.
Argentiferous liquid crosses stones;
the waterfalls begin their arduous journey.

This daughter I name Forest Green.
I measure each line in her palm the day she is born.
Her hand grows until it is strong enough
to pull her into the saddle, tender enough
to feel pressure between the rein
and the bit.
Even leaves follow her.

Another daughter gathers yucca with a steel trowel,
breaks into the earth just deep enough
to extract the root.
She boils it with sugar and honey over a cedar fire,
spreads a jelly so clear and thin
I recognize her sepia photograph on toast.

Donít I know what it means to feel the rush of afterbirth
on a naked thigh,
to catch the hazel glint of a daughterís eye,
the stampede of hooves
shimmering in the spectrumís iris?

This daughter memorizes all the parts of horses,
marries young, travels islands with names like Cariacou.
She returns taller and long-haired,
sixty-three tiny braids swing from her skull,
the tiny cackle of porcelain beads,
rustle against each other as she crosses a room.
This one turns a shoulder
like a key in a lock, the tiny click.

This daughter trims the new buds of prickly pear
from its history of spiked palms.
Its auburn blood stains the knife
as she culls each spine from the areole,
Under the kitchen light, she tosses chopped cactus,
cilantro, marjoram. She sprinkles salt,
crushes feta between her fingers.

Donít I know what it means to stand in the driveway,
to wave the white handkerchief,
to feel the stampede of hooves shimmering?
Donít I know what it means to recognize the hazel glint,
to feel the rush of afterbirth on a naked thigh?

This daughter chews the tips of sleepy grass
to prove it makes horses drowsy.
She buys an Arabian mare
and a second hand saddle,
rides the length of South Shore, up Bon Carbo road.
Barefoot and hatless,
she crosses the Purgatoire after the first snake,
its dry rattle trailing arid heat.

This daughter dyes her hair blue, smokes blue cigarettes,
tints the icing, the eggs, the cookie dough, the milk
with a drop of blue food coloring.
She paints herself blue,
sapphire fingernails, turquoise toenails, porcelain lips,
aqua elbows, violet ankles
a peacock blue navel, magenta breasts
a delft blue pelvis.
When she stands on the horizon
she is invisible, blue sky at her back.



First Published in Words and Images  


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