the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Fall 2007



Molly Peacock

The Flaw

The best thing about a hand-made pattern
is the flaw.
Sooner or later in a hand-loomed rug,
among the squares and flattened triangles,
a little red nub might soar above a blue field,
or a purple cross might sneak in between
the neat ochre teeth of the border.
The flaw we live by, the wrong color floss,
now wreathes among the uniform strands
and, because it does not match,
makes a red bird fly,
turning blue field into sky.
It is almost, after long silence, a word
spoken aloud, a hand saying through the flaw,
I’m alive, discovered by your eye.

(Previously published in River Styx.)

The Fly

I asked her for a favor, and
felt the wing of her Yes.
When it was time for the favor to be done,
she buzzed, "I’m in need of one myself."
But mine hadn’t been given yet!
This was cashing in before you pay.
Instead I incurred a debt far greater
than what I asked to borrow.
What made me so blind? In sunlight,
a housefly has landed on my knee.
Its garnet eyes are so pretty.
Here I thought she liked me for myself.
How little I know of how human beings work.

(Previously published in River Styx.)


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