Monica Ferrell

In the Binary Alleys of the Lion’s Virus

Sorrento, your sun is light yellow lemonskin, your sky
Purling out like a farther surf on which I ride away
From that secret in a German town. I left behind
A dragon of enigma to fester there without me, I left
A small god ticking like a time bomb: a tiny jade statue suspended
By magnets in the vulva of a prehistoric temple. Here
In the oyster of your mornings I wake as lead.


                                                                            Once I was a knight
Who rode out in search of grail, now I am just a husk
Of armor with the grey squid of memory inside—I have forgotten
Land and tongue, I have forgotten everyone. Only I see
An emblem, some kind of lion arrant on ash-argent ground
A creature I greeted once in a dream: yes, at the crossroads of the hallowed grove
He kissed me—and must have slipped this curse between my lips.



“In the Binary Alleys of the Lion’s Virus” first appeared in New England Review, 23.3.