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from the December 2013 issue

Anagrammatic Sestina

At the end of the furrow, words staple
the page, lashing agile lines. None are spared. 
The choice is made: it imbricates, recaps
white porcelain, tin, polishes carets,
better yet, china clay. Rhyming words, ternes
bearing sludge with vestiges of tinsel,

grown gloomy, kiss-crazed by a queen’s intels
caressing your collar like worn petals,
your anagram arrives—this time it’s “treens”—
in place, on the fingertips of padres.
A doctored line, but baited with caster:
to catch and serve a salad with capers.

This one’s beauty spot is made of black crapes,
but smelling of resinous log, elints,
like the other’s pale eyes, hollowed-out crates,
and the poem shows the skull’s tempest (plates
shift within pate) ejecting seaweed spread.
The meaning that’s reflected there enters,

broke, with no clincher. It is no nester.
Form has its reasons, and for a parsec
I will uphold this, though my nerves be rasped.
The line uncoils along coves and inlets,
serene—voice, paper, color, smooth as pelt.
A rush of dull hemoglobin reacts.

If permutation of final traces
ferrets out ideas that are tenser,
spawns some innovative shade of pastel
(lyric vocab), suddenly a spacer
also appears. The line tries to enlist
readers who feel as vapid as ad reps,

enthralled, recruited by syntax not parsed,
non sequiturs. But a mermaid caters
not to fresh water. She will not listen
to unrhymed rhymes’ nebbish bid to renest.
Unsalted, they’d be weak as tea, pacers
and bellwethers no more, at their palest. 

After you had read the pleats in the drapes,
I, haunted, sought to scrape thoughts not recast,
squeezed, or resent by a voice now silent.

Read more from the December 2013 issue
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