Summer 1988 • Vol. X No. 3 PoetryJuly 1, 1988 |

Scheherazade

In the little cave the bones glow as if the skin were still attached to them, yet each wife, each skeleton is arranged in some ordinary posture: its arms up, beating a carpet, on its hands and knees scrubbing the floor of this place, or here's one—its mouth open as if wanting to tell a story. Scheherazade knows she will tell this story tonight. It was there all along like the broken bone the dancer can't feel as long as she's dancing. At dawn when the stories end, everyone is afraid, even the king. They sit in the royal chamber, she and the king at the center, the courtiers on their blazing cushions around them. She uses her hands as the deaf people do; the eyes of the others never leave them. In fact last night she told the tale of the emperor's clothes—weaving the threads of air with her hands—only in this version, everyone is naked. And instead of laughter . . . tears came to their eyes, as if some freezing wind had touched them. And yet the stories go on when she stops, ev

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Family Tree

By Judith Berke

In the little cave the bones glow as if the skin were still attached to them, yet each wife, each skeleton is arranged in some ordinary posture: its arms up, […]

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