The Danaides, by David Capps
They are as three mystics with shoulders of stone that is bone calcified from years of undeath, quarried from a wall of fifty, more on their way. It is the eternal renewal of a private place, surrounded by immobile fixtures and the light dank breath of sisters baring breasts in full bloom of a lifeless cistern. There is a constant downward flow from bottomless faces into the Styx, itself with water weeping unabashedly, a task without meaning rehearsed without meaning, and Cerberus kneading his claws into the frontier of an indestructible receptacle.
What is left is lain
over, slack with grief:
to gather water, aside
to gather it, bare
water, that has no
ocean-wide water, pour
to the depth of a pearl.
Ford main throat, sole
before being condemned.
How beautiful, limpid
your eyes, wells
poisoned with hellebore,
falseblack, at the low point
pushes a greasy ring, the colour
and shape of irises
to the surface—so
What of sisterhood lingers, when each steps gingerly around her guilt:
the man she condemned to death, whose face, exalted by seduction,
she avoids at all costs—casting her glance away
from water’s reflection, where the blade’s edge reappears. Where
can she look when the eyes of her sisters are forsaken?
She sidesteps the pillar with the caution of the blind
unversed in being blind
the blind whose speech is unwanted, because each knows just enough
to carry water into a silence
which proceeds like the exhalations of Sisyphus, with the difference
that at the peak of his labors, Sisyphus rests.
The silence where her words were always merely breath
blown from a hollow chest, is what lingers
of sisterhood, the blue of three collapsed walls.
David Capps received his PhD in philosophy from University of Connecticut and an MFA in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University. Recently his poems have been featured in Peacock Journal, Mantra Review, Cagibi, among others. He lives in New Haven, CT.
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