Manaquest Series

Girls against the grain of Utah,

laughing. I swear I heard

Their voices carried in echo.

Wolf. Manaquest. Your maps

The language of laps,

Do we have snakes for—

Giggled second girl to third

Girl. Gone up the cedar tree to

The stars. Away from me,

She said. He got away, wolf.

Manaquest. Called himself

Danger for the sake of

*

First girl, lap-heavy. Un-

Bailing twine. What was mine

She said, got away from

Me. Third girl, gone up

The cedar tree. Hollow

Cane-sugared out. Trust

Manaquest will come

Back—

*

Laps laugh to language of maps.

Stars away, Manaquest called himself

Wolf. Tower. Danger for the sake of—

First girl, he wrote. Letters

Gone up. Hollow as cane

Sugar. Trust me, he said

I have not left you.

*

Second girl, she whirled

Into Utah tower, red,

Slipped her head into snake

Skin. Slipped, said, Wolf

Write me a letter. Stars

To cedar tree. Write me.

Manaquest called danger

For the sake of her skin.

Trust me, he said. I have not left.

*

Third, the girl of three

Lept to see the stars

Build nests in the cedar

Tree. Tell me, what is left

Since danger for the sake of

Kept me unbailing twine.

There are holes. Snakes.

Your letters can’t undo.

Manaquest. Are there maps

For this kind of loneliness?

Trust, he said. I have not

*

Left, cane-sugared out,

The girls gathered the cedar

Limbs to their laps, languaged

Enough snakes to letter him

Undone. Red. Their own blood

Hollowed lips to stars. Trust me,

Said the girl of three—

he’s back—

*

First girl, Wolf lept

Into her lap, red, hollow,

Cane-sugared out. Utah

Whirled stars and cedar

Mapped her, gathered.

Language, laughter,

girls, I am back.

He said—they threw up

Their heads, lipped stars

Said, We’re sick.

*

Utah whirled their bodies home. Undone,

I swear I heard laughter, hair

Swept, sugared, they came, cedar sweet—

*

The girls giggled Wolf

Into laps of red. Blood

We’re sick, they said,

Handed language to trees

Forgive us, said the three—

We’re sick, sugar-caned

Out. Manaquest left

I have not, written on their backs.

*

Manaquest curled lips to kiss

stars in their hair—three

Girls giggled, threw up

their heads, laughed language

to the cedar tree. Whirled nets

for the sake of

*

Snakes in the tower, trembled

Utah red. Wolf, his nets, cast cane.

Sugar, he said, I have not, for

give me.

*

Sick, the girls sung

towers to the stars,

wrote, We have not

on their backs, and he will not

Come.

*

First girl fell in the net,

limbs of cedar in her lap,

wrote, star, star. I know

you have not left.

*

Second girl bit blood,

her cane-sugar to cedar

tree. Lipped language there,

watched stars tangle in her

hair—swept, turned

back. He will come,

*

Danger– for the sake of,

Manaquest called himself

Wolf. Broke the tower, wrote

On third girl’s skin, Trust

I will come again. Cane-

Sugared-out, blessed

the cedar tree—the three

Girls giggled—hollowed their laps

For the language of

*

Trust. Manaquest leapt

Stars, maps, into their laps,

Wrote: I’m coming back

To Utah. The girls

Bathed their heads in cane

sugar—sick, blessed

for the sake of—

gathered limbs of cedar, climbed

the tower till hollowed

Out. Wolf. Forgive us, our snakes,

*

language is sick. I know

Manaquest wrote, whirled

their bodies home—bled

the cedar limbs, said

On your back are maps

to the tower for the sake of

Our Letters—

*

For the sake of

Your letters, we have become

sick, said the three, laughing,

bodied to the cedar tree—

*

I swear I heard girls against

the grain of Utah red, bathing

their heads, giggling—

*

for

give us

our snakes

for

give us

our maps

for

the sake of–

written on their backs.

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