Tertiary by Harriet Zinnes

Tertiary things
but hardly limited.
Stages go beyond three.
Waves circumscribe continents.

Below the tenement
there are three cats.
Is it a cave or a cellar?
There is little wherewithal to determine which.
I see only discarded shoes,
near one is a paper clip.
The Third Estate?
Shadows of three dead men
   And thou wast one of the three.

Oh, it is so tiresome, you say.
Yes, and the barricades will be put up by police.
The demonstration will go on.
On the third day there will be quiet.
Traffic will be normal.
Back home there will be sighs,
and the three cats each will have a litter.
Preposterous repetitions.
Shadows of three dead men
   and thou was one of the three.

And it came to pass
that three was not three,
and the four ahead of it
and the two before
held a seance to decide their next move,
their next step ahead or behind.
But during that seance
a voice remarked,
“It is all vainglory. All vainglory.”
This so mortified the numbers
that they prefigured
and remained static.
Three, subdued, remained three.
Two in a state of shock
succumbed to its true identity:
Tertiary faded to its true colors:
Gray and brown, and allowed the mixture.
Shadows of three dead men
   and thou was one of the three.*

*Tennyson, “In the Garden at Swainston.” Drawing on the Wall, or Diminishment

For the complete circle,
the hairpin turn,
the wherewithal
of space
becoming a line, a figure,
a circumambulatory image
resting on canvas,
no longer a mark made
but a mark in stasis,
there is disaster:

The whatever that is,
that remains
without the maker’s restlessness,
has life only in others’ eyes,
itself a dormant mass
of thin configuration.

Whatever is there
lies on itself,
a past configuration,
merely lingering.

Issue Six

Editorial: Out of Africa


Harriet Zinnes

Reesom Haile

Michael Smith

Michael Leddy

Frank Rogaczewski

Devin Johnston

Steven Teref

Samuel Hazo

Mechanics of the Mirage

And: The Word from Asmara

And: The Word from India

Samizdat Magazine, samizdatmagazine.com © 2000-2001 R. Archambeau

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