Abyss & Apex : Third Quarter 2007: Hieratics


Darin Bradley



He tells me the ellipses bridge gaps —
Like stenographic incisions they stitch
the final line — her last breath. An autopsy.

But better men get lost in elision. In her,
His coroner’s tools plumbed depths they’ve known
before: in larger form, with pulleys and lampblack,
they worked other tombs, heaving capstones and vents,
but these belonged in that sand, star–mapped —
the pyramidal shadows of Orion’s belt, closing,

in three even dots, his gap. The grave–
robbers died later. Under halogens, though,
she offered smaller prizes — the misguided stones
lumping her sodden vaults. These glyphic knots sealed
their own doors. They made of her
a shared tomb — a hoard of borrowed things

she meant to return: the lumps and trinkets —
the waters that swam synaptic Niles
to keep things moving. The Great Mother comes

to mind: a torso, breasts, some carbon. Perhaps
this thief can tell me why he found
no pharaonic curse; she protested only in sighs
of parted flesh, in puffs of decay. Remember —
he tells me — there are masks for these things.
There are truths in line breaks. He reported

her death, some sleeping — a warming drip.
A hieratic code for convulsions, rapture, the curling
nerves like mandrake earthing. Knowing
the voice she cried with is important.
While we slept, she ruined the surprise.





Darin C. Bradley holds an M.A. in Literature and Literary Criticism and a Ph.D. in Poetics. In addition to his work as an independent scholar, he also edits fiction at Farrago’s Wainscot. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Polyphony 6, Strange Horizons , Electric Velocipede, Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, The Internet Review of Science Fiction , Abyss & Apex, GrendelSong, Bewildering Stories, and The Porch.


Poem © 2007 Darin Bradley. All other content copyright © 2007 ByrenLee Press 

Above button is for PayPal. Donate any amount. All monies go to authors and web hosting.

Click here for Patreon to become a Patron for as little as $1 a month!


Banner Art by
Mondolithic Studios