Patricia Smith

The Reemergence Of The Noose

Some lamp sputters its dusty light across a
desk. Some hand, in a fever, works the fraying
brown hemp, twisting and knifing, weaving, tugging
tight this bellowing circle. Randy Travis
sings, moans, radio’s steamy twangs and hiccups,
blue notes backing the ritual of drooping
loop. Sweat drips in an awkward hallelujah.
God glares down, but the artist doesn’t waver—
wrists click rhythm, and rope becomes a path to
what makes saviors; the loop bemoans its need to
squeeze, its craving for a breath within the ring.