Susan Slaviero
The Moirae Speak of Time, Work

I. Clotho

I'm always saying: not thread,
but wool,
carefully carded,
combed into planetary rounds

with plum bobs dangling.
I weave wheels of midnight
violet, pry open rose-eyes,

pricking the centers
with a sharpened
fingernail. I wear red

on Sundays, bleed
acid from clock batteries,
strip pendulums down

to knitting bones. I invent
new letters: iota, ipsilon.

II. Lachesis

Call me the apportioner
of lots, if you will. Scratching
records of wax and wane on

brass tablets, iron wheels
etched with zodiacal patterns,
soothsaid and cetimetered.

The organ-grinder's monkey
could do my job. All it takes is
an opposable thumb, flexible wrists,

a lack of bloodflow
to the liver & spleen.
Once, I said a baby should live

as long as a burning log. I say
things like decadent, decimate.
I reduce by ten, multiply by

the times a woman smokes
a filterless cigarette.

III. Atropos

What do you expect
from a granddaughter of Chaos?
I'm no oracle, I just know

when to shear straight,
when to scissor spheres,
hexagons. I am arrows &

earth, the spokes of sword
circles, the little old lady
that once got drunk on

Apollo's wine, allowed
a woman to die
in a man's place. He

calls me the inevitable one,
but I am only Nyx's
daughter. I follow my Saturnine

impulses, the bladeflick
of my fingers like sideways rain.