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SPHINX OF BLACK QUARTZ, JUDGE MY VOW (AN ABECEDARIAN).

[The mere intuitions of things] are not called "problems"; but they acquire that name as soon as we decide to make a definite judgement about them... We say that we are seeking to derive things from words whenever the difficulty lies in the obscurity of the language employed. Riddles all belong to this class of problem: for example, the riddle of the Sphinx.

--RENE DESCARTES, RULES FOR THE DIRECTION OF THE MIND

A
 
ny way she might have flown
   b
ore enough of the old, impenetrable signs,
   c
ast in iron or the soft erosions of a herm in
   d
olomite, limestone, marble, basalt,
   e
nough of the signs to diagnose a condition of loss
   f
orgotten as a matter of mere survival,
   g
rit against the verso of the
   h
and, the paw that cracks the eggs with the black yolks,
   i
mmaculate as zero--not a single, sacred I am--
 but
     only the gentle
   j
ests--If a lion could talk--Is't you sir, that know
     things?--
k
in to the chrysalis
   l
aboring over enzymes and imaginal forms and
   m
ysteried by a thin, iridescent jacket,
   n
ovitiate for who knows how long
   o
mens will believe in us or
   p
rophecy cease to
   q
uicken a graph that shows how the polar ice caps
   r
ecuse themselves into the
   s
alt sea--O Sphinx of black quartz, you have gone to the
     movies--
   t
hough no one does anymore and perhaps that's why
   u
nderstanding is a unicorn and knowing a goat whom the
   v
ultures pursue for its scarlet leash and its tongue of scraped
     vellum no
   w
riting will color for long--no
   x
anadu, that empty plinth
   y
ou used to prowl in search of a
   z
oetics, flaw in the order of fatal witness your delicate claw
     cracks open for the vanishing.
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Title Annotation:alphabet
Author:Porte, Rebecca Ariel
Publication:Subtropics
Article Type:Poem
Date:Mar 22, 2019
Words:403
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