Issue 20: Paul Muldoon
Ametas and Thestylis Making Hay-Ropes
Of all those we’ve wrought among
I love the hay-stack from which we’ve wrung
this one idea to which we’ve clung.
That stack’s a tomb
from which you’ve managed to exhume
only a hackneyed notion of a bride and groom.
Since we all too briefly kissed
and you seemed not to overly resist
it’s true I’d hoped we might be talking a tryst.
Not a tryst. Trust. That’s the lynch-pin
of any relationship. Your method is more akin
to feeding me a line whilst reeling me in.
Yet you’re the one with the thraw-crook.
You’re the one for whom I forsook
all others when you shot me a tearful look.
My eyes water mostly because they’re stung
from ammonia rising off horse-dung.
These moldy spores will give me farmer’s lung.
I’m no less hedged in by my self-rebukes.
Now the more hay I pay out to your hook
the less I have to show in my hay-stook.
I’d always hoped neither to toil nor spin.
It’s truer now than it has ever been
most situations aren’t win-win.
It’s a cruel twist, Thestylis. A cruel twist.
With every turn of your slender wrist
I find myself summarily dismissed.
Why on earth would you assume
I’d fall head over heels, vroom vroom,
for a loser who texts me from the next room?
I’d imagined the trap had long ago been sprung.
But the more tightly the rope is strung
the even further afield we’re flung.
Paul Muldoon is the author of twelve collections of poetry, the most recent of which is One Thousand Things Worth Knowing (FSG, 2015).r.