The Days of the Unicorns

Phyllis Webb

Printer-friendly version

    I remember when the unicorns

roved in herds through the meadow

behind the cabin, and how they would

lately pause, tilting their jewelled

horns to the falling sun as we shared

the tensions of private property

and the need to be alone.

 

Or as we walked along the beach

a solitary delicate beast

might follow on his soft paws

until we turned and spoke the words

to console him.

 

It seemed they were always near

ready to show their eyes and stare

us down, standing in their creamy

skins, pink tongues out

for our benevolence.

 

As if they knew that always beyond

and beyond the ladies were weaving them

into their spider looms.

 

I knew where they slept

and how the grass was bent

by their own wilderness

and I pitied them.

 

It was only yesterday, or seems

like only yesterday when we could

touch and turn and they came

perfectly real into our fictions.

But they moved on with the courtly sun

grazing peacefully beyond the story

horns lowering and lifting and

lowering.

 

I know this is scarcely credible now

as we cabin ourselves in cold

and the motions of panic

and our cells destroy each other

performing music and extinction

and the great dreams pass on

to the common good.