Nimue Sings to the Tree by Miranda Gaw

My husband is a labyrinth whose heart
tells time.
Like a signpost one hand points this way & the other that.

My husband keeps the time
in his two hands. One end is a faucet
shut off.

The faucet reduced to a trickle. The unicorn
reduced to a single spire.
Sense reduced to habit.

Our house glows amber. Outside in the dark
the devil is beating someone
else’s wife.

Crying, This is the coin in which our debts will be repaid.

On my husband’s
island there are freshwater springs
but its boulders are oily with moss. It knows
two trees only: hawthorn or oak.

I went back a year later & the lichen had claimed it.
Their mythology says
the hearts of the dead lie
under the permafrost.

Their mythology says a man is a machine built to tell the time.

Here is a man who has put down
roots in the ocean. Lighthouse
lost in fog. Do you hear the thrum
of it over the deep thrum of the waves?
Where are your hands, what more
do they do?

— My hands are whited in salt.

Miranda Gaw is a writer and programmer living in Brooklyn, where the trains run neither uptown nor downtown. Human voices seep through the walls of her apartment. Her poems have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from: Sybil’s Garage #5, Goblin Fruit, and Kaleidotrope.

Image: Merlin is Spellbound by His Lover Nimue, Eleanor Fortescue Brickdale, date unknown