How to Tie a Noose

She didn’t use a sheet or remnant
or something as lowbrow as a clothesline
Hold the rope in your left hand
           and the end,
           which we’ll call A,
           in your right hand
but tan and twisted exact cordage
rope perfect as a movie strangling
           Form a loop hanging down
           then another loop
           in the opposite direction
the acrobat walks such a rope across two points
his shadow already fallen, passing below the net
           Wrap A around the place
           where the two loops meet
           poke the end
           through the upper loop
dishes washed, undetectable last meal
note hard to find but uncreased
           Hold the top loop tight
           against the rest of the rope
           and begin winding A
the chair’s precise height, rush-seat easy
on her bare feet, kickable ladderback
           Poke the end through the top
           loop and pull it tight.
           The knot should stay in place,
           the loop remains adjustable
the strong beam, the strand
of her average body spooling in air


Martha Clarkson is a photo-snapper, fiction writer, and poet. And loyal friend. She receives mail in Kirkland, WA.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters. Glenn is also the official photographer for the Newton Writing and Publishing Center.