She spun a line. She knew he was listening to her.
She spun it and he took the fraying ends.
Whatever she was saying, it was cotton,
Then as he rolled the thread between
Forefinger and thumb it turned to silk,
And as he took the needle up to thread it
The line she spun became thin finest gold.
He knew not to believe her but he took it
Because she kept on spinning like the truth
Was ravelling from her lips; he watched her lips.
Cotton, silk and gold, she wanted him
To take the line and sew the wound right up
Although she held the blade still in her hand
Behind her back, and it was dripping, steaming.
There under his left arm the gash lay open
Like a mouth in disbelief. And he believed her.
Michael Schmidt, "Conceit" from New and Collected Poems. Copyright © 2010 by Michael Schmidt. Reprinted by permission of The Sheep Meadow Press.
Source: New and Collected Poems
(The Sheep Meadow Press, 2010)