Home > New Classics > Ariadne sends her friend a ball of twine

Ariadne sends her friend a ball of twine

July 27, 2010

by Leslie Ann Minot

sturdy, but not strong enough
to hang herself with, and long,

useful for tying tomatoes
in spring and early summer,
for bundling flattened boxes,
or for the coarser kind of kite.

Her friend has been making maps of emptiness,
the spaces in between
the islands’ separateness,
a blankness crossed by lines.

In the hardware store, Ariadne takes her time,
running her fingers through the bins of nails
and screws, shiny and full of hope
that the world can hold together.

She sings in her native tongue, softly,
making sure the old man at the counter sees her.

They say she’s a witch, how else
could she come here dishonored and marry
the island’s richest god? A foreigner,
she knows she can make them say anything
by wearing red patent-leather slingback pumps
every day of summer, even on the mountain’s
twisting goat tracks.

It’s the untangling that matters.

These climbs are nothing
if you’ve walked barefoot from your past
and stumbled into joy.

The twine is cheap, and gossip costs still less.
The town is hungry for it.

Her friend may shrug. “Witchcraft—who believes?”
But grief is superstitious. Ariadne thinks
her friend will be preoccupied with twine.
Unwinding. Finding uses.
She hopes for long enough.

Ariadne knows: Grief is not about
the shortest distance between two points.
It’s about getting out alive.

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Leslie Ann Minot received an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2004, and has previously published poetry and translations of poetry in The Chicago Review, The Red Rock Review, New Letters, and neon geyser/porcelain sky. She has published critical articles in The European Romantic Review and Excavatio, as well as in collections on Victorian sensation fiction, Caribbean literature, Georges Sand, and Muriel Rukeyser.

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  1. July 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Ariadne’s myth after the myth is my favourite. Leslie Ann Minot I loved your Ariadne’s story.

  2. Donna Vorreyer
    July 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Stunning piece. Thanks for this!

  3. stu barnes
    July 28, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    my god, this – in particular, the final three lines – sends shivers up my spine

  4. July 29, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Even for those who believe they can pick words from invisible thoughts floating on ether like I think I can, moments like now after reading your poem leave me still staring at words but disabled to snag what would fit how I feel about your Ariadne. Thank you for pulling her down from Olympus to walk our streets–“between two points”–among us.

  5. July 30, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Wow. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ariadne: that drew my attention. After reading this, I”m completely deeply impressed. This poem gets better with each reading (I’ve read it 6 times so far). Thank you for sharing this beautiful work.

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