portion of the artwork for A.E. Reiff's poetry

Oracle Binding
A.E. Reiff

“Sensual horror, pathos, sympathy, all conjoined in intellective adventure ....”

Upper classes believe they took protection from Gigantes
when their Spirits launched to flesh, put on a shell that had magical plates.
Over shoulders, down the back, this carapace was detachable & detached.

Over time the shield was like a book whose plastron
formed a skin of literary pages read as scute of that race in the ages
when communal history began.

No sooner did the oracle write its book
than giants ceased and the shields came off,
or they wanted them to.

Fused like scute to the bone beneath, they were stuck pages.
If you never bucked on flak that feels like a tourniquet,
imagine it happening to someone else,

but grant that when the kidney empties they wriggle out,
reducing mass to shrink the inner man.
Diuresis escaped the shell,

which, externalized, stood by itself.
Acquiring new life, round campfires by night,
they chanted hymns naked in front of standing shields.

Prophetic songs of nakedness was a problem of their lit.
When shields began to fail from weather and UV light,
a network of cracks appeared.

Throbs and fissures reversed to forks.
Rib branches in the finish made cleavage and cups.
Oracles separate from the shell alone, outside the cover of the book, fused to bone.

Shields and powers tell a tale to oracle the shell.
Want to know a secret of oracle binding? The powers of that shell reduced to writing.
Powers taken off by shrinking the inner man barbed like fissures, sprouted thought

and the man slipped out.
If it weren’t for survival of the boney tales we’d never know.
Examine these at secondary sites. There are nine openings.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 38 | Fall 2012