A hornets’ nest is easily disturbed. There is a balm
in drums below the loam. It froths forth, settles,
grows. Say the moon makes symphonies of waves
and I will tell you that Gilead is a word, that I
have stripped it of its worth. You are the dream
shaped of fish and bits of thread and of the foil
men use for wrapping it. (There was an ointment
once, they boiled it over open hearths but that
never happened here.) Say, “woe is he unable to speak.”
I will pick an iris and make tea of it. I will leave
moist petals in a saucer to tend the ropes and bells
and I will be gentle with the hornets. Promise these
images: there is too much salt in Gilead, it spills,
dissolves. The Lord has trodden as in a wine press
the virgin daughter of Judah and she remembers
everything. She speaks in tongues, says there are pillars
underground where soft hair grows down like a lung.

Kamila Lis ’05