Hunger Mountain - Vermont College Journal of the arts
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Divination, Sky

by Wendy Miles

A spool of smoke unwinds across the sky.
Crow clack, cicada, bodies open to the sky.

In 79 AD ash and roasting heat seal an envelope
around Herculaneum; they look but find no sky.

But the heart remains. See it telescope the chest,
long for the moon’s pull, that flight to the sky.

Cyrano knew it—the little magnet in the boat
rocking, hands around the ball, heave of the sky.

Archaeologists excavate a woman: gold bracelets,
divination of pelvis, childless, arms closed to the sky.

I know her. Bracelets tinkle, soles scald on ash.
Her Vesuvius—black caldron dumping the sky.

In a room I dream—a painting of a little blue boat.
Outside the yard is bristled weed, busted rock, sky.


“Divination, Sky” is a mysterious ghazal that unearths a childless woman from the ashes of Herculaneum, dons her gold bangles, and excavates her broken heart.
–Dorianne Laux, 2012 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize Judge



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