Another Lyric Skyway

A real concert
harpist plays beneath
a giant atrium
sculpture with strings

attached. I’ve lived
all these years
with a mannequin—
not a marionette. I have

a cousin who mistakes live
women for the ones without
strings. Someone’s father
worked in a plastics factory

where they manufacture
the ones frozen
in poses. I can’t
draw one—but I could place

a cutout replica
in a jar and wait
to be surprised.


Lapsing into flaps to close a cardboard box, she slips a note in afterward
the way she forgets she can dance
without strings. The tension
for the right arm varies from that of the knee. Thighs weigh more 

than you might imagine. Pulled out, she emerges
naked and cut free
of nerves before the flaps fold
over each other, before everything collapses, 

before she slips away without written instructions
on how to manipulate the soil
to grow freshly carved limbs.