Mystery and the V. Mss.

Lynne Shapiro

Bless the hive that cannot be pried
that skep of clay that denies
every Pandora her urge
so to teach us to accept mystery
and its limits.

I wrote a poem I hoped was
equal to the manuscript, slippery
and migratory as eels,
a manuscript that spawns desire,
not knowledge, origin stories,
border crossings, scientific
hypotheses, and cultural projections.  

I tried anagrams, concealed revelation
in plain sight.  Six sections, like the text.
We lean on structure, when meaning falters.
From the Astronomical:
Aleatory suns transit remarkable orb-bellied nudes
(ovulating/menstruating), iconical colliding
aberrations of Leda’s light.

I found myself trapped, so tried another tack
with section two, The Baleological.  I asked
the dear reader to conjure images: Cezanne’s
bathers, Mme. Bonnard’s tub, Kenneth Anger’s
Eauxd’ Artifice —

I went on and on, trapped like those poor
Shakespeare doubters.  (Bacon. Roger Bacon, the author?
The owner? Wasn’t another Bacon involved in another ruse -
perhaps the author of Shakespeare’s plays? Kevin Bacon’s
sister was in a class I taught – 6 degrees…. The number 6!)

Walking home from a Covid - 19 test, I find an ID
card in the street, I look up and see
the manuscript has wings, it is a moth.  
I take a picture, and after days of looking for a match,  
I learn the moth is a Lettered Sphinx –Deidamia Inscriptum,
Riddles inside of riddles, threads to follow
like atoms splitting in infinite directions.  
Obsession is greater than knowledge.

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