Thursday 7 September 2017

Nashville Labyrinth                                                       

by Kathleen McClung

They’re all blue-eyed, these two-year-olds. Some grin
and wave. Some glare, appraising, shrewd. They ride
en masse—red strollers canopied—as I begin

this stone-lined labyrinth, not emptied yet, brochure in-
structing me: Breathe and clear your mind and step inside.
They’re all blue-eyed, a dozen passengers. Some grin

as though they know already they will win
Grand Prizes. Two or three seem terrified
of crows in seminary cedars.  I begin

this maze distracted by a shirt one thin
boy wears: BAD TO THE BONE. I’m mystified.
They’re all blue-eyed, pre-alphabet. Some grin

and suck their thumbs. We women trade Mornin’—
three workers (black), one tourist (white). The workers guide
these heavy strollers past the maze where I begin

my clumsy, walking prayer, my doubts all braided in
a knot, a smaller labyrinth.           Breathe. Step inside.
They’re all blue-eyed, these two-year-olds. Some grin
and sing a new word: redred.          Breathe. Begin.

* * * * *
"Nashville Labyrinth" was previously published in Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Volume XVIII, Lifelines, 2015.

Kathleen McClung, author of Almost the Rowboat, teaches at Skyline College and The Writing Salon. She is associate director of the Soul-Making Keats literary competition.

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