​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

B Y   A L I C I A   C O L E

Alicia Cole is a writer and visual artist in Huntsville, AL. She's the Editor of Priestess & Hierophant Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Clockwise Cat, Love & Ensuing Madness, and Otoliths.

R I V E R   S T A G E S

Stage 1: Dissolution

When my friend framed the river
to her own making, 
she laid sugar crystals in the water
formed for dissolving, a sculpture
born to disappear.  I would say 
the sweetness of her tongue similar;
born for a moment's rapture, born to
tangle in the river's rush, born to 
become solute.  She laid webbing
in the water, herself, suspended.  
Solvent, the sweat of her mouth, 
unraveling cocoon. 

Stage 2: Formation

Islands under the moon.  Bright, brief.
Her hands trembled at the work, her 
body straining.  Like a horse haltered,
she churned at the sculpture: frame,
color, form.  I will see you on these
islands, her mouth told me - the places
we go to past flowering when our bodies
are more light than shadow, mere wisps 
of God's scented breath.  Then boys
destroyed her making, crushing the
floating arcs as they lay in the fountain;
it was an offering to the impermanence 
of form.  So I say to forbid crying, utopia 
tangled in ineffable hands.

Stage 3: Absolution

Will you go from here to a place 
I cannot follow?  The light of your being
holds no gender, no name, only an old 
knowing.  Once.  Do you remember?
God breathed us, stars, into faint and 
distant bodies.  The color bleeding 
from your hands called me.  My mouth 
muttered dumb phrases, trying to say: 
we are both sculptures born of one
immeasurable and infinite weight.