“The Geometry Blinked Ruin Unimaginable” by Patti Smith

The Geometry Blinked Ruin Unimaginable

She clawed through the rubble of her world
head covered a scrupulous maid searching for gems
a necklace mislaid by her mistress on the marble floor
of a ballroom set against the battered sky
She crawled with her babe limp as a doll in floral crayon
fleeing hell straight into the light of her ancestors

She crawled through arches suspended
wrapped her babe in the shawl she had worn
to market no more than a scar on the face of a hill
hair ribbons fluttering girders blood silk
oozing the wounded sky shot with holes
foxes scuttling crackling wires
patches of honey colored coats shivering
down mixed with bits of calico and flesh

She crawled a chessboard a cage of gold
scaffolding she crawled with her face oblique
placed her babe before the altar of the Art of War
She picked through the remnants of the Basque
countryside a cockeyed dress-maker
piecing a pattern gone awry
Through the rubble she crawled
with one shoe the other foot gone
a trail sticky and warm

She crept into the belly of a fallen horse
drawing its life into her mouth
covering her doll with kisses
she knelt entreating her god
an immense crucifix swathed
in telegraph wire that spun
like a bottle in the center of a circle

She made a sign over her breast
and stuffed her mouth with biscuits

Body of Christ Body of Christ
Body of Christ Body of Christ

Horses wept jewels the size of fists
swept by scholars with a mind
to twist and level facets
of each plane to be raffled
when the bombing ceased

Before the Art of War, she laid her babe
To be raffled with the heart of the artist
bulldozed crucified then razed again
to house an outstretched arm
hoof and thigh reins that ran scarlet
streaming the horse ’s knotted mane
dripping blood from the wounds of Christ
dripping blood from the wounds of Spain

Black and white blood dripping

The ghost of Sophia pranced in her rag dress
through walls of glass—the unspeakable

The hairs on his forearms bristled the sense
of her pressing in like a dosed handkerchief
He picked up a stick and covered fresh sheets
Dripping the hardened horn
Dripping the indignant ring
Slaughter flower dead child hoof capacious eye
lighting the halls of the Spanish pavilion
He bore down on the stick to canvas spent

and on the Seventh day he wept


Patti Smith, 1946–

“The Geometry Blinked Ruin Unimaginable”
© 2024 Patti Smith

"Guernica" (1937) by Pablo Picasso

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