Eyeshot by Heather McHugh

The following is a poem from Eyeshot by Heather McHugh, to be published by Wesleyan University Press in October 2003.

World in a Skirt

The French horn has us
where she wants us—up and about.

We flew around her hem of gold
(a cone blown off a rod): our own 360

sped to one head-turner, sure to sharpen us,
to get the lead out—spin us inward,

get some endlessness involved. (With seven shaven sunshines,
four red top hats, scraps of our leftover everything, still

she cannot get her fill, left right, boy girl, no matter how
she whirls herself into us, us into

her eyeshot's veered veneer.) She's only molten
earwear but she's changing

round from noun to adjective and back—
echo into dream-drink,

fixer into flower. One and two and more and less
are wound inside her gown. She welds the sunlights,

sequins squalors, calls beholding's kettle gold. She improvises swells
in every bugle's riverrun: the looks of us pour in, and lo! the likes

of Beethoven pour out! My god!—my fickleness! (my
centerer of yore!) If every petal's fugal in your sphere,

if every pull's a fling, how can a human being tell
immortal from amoral here? Is love

only cupidity? (in a silver twist,
a spire's unfixed. Now it's a spear.)


—Reprinted with permission from Wesleyan University Press © 2003 Heather McHugh.