Labyrinth 86 by Oliver de la Paz


The boy in the labyrinth’s hand retracts from under the beast’s hot respiration. His hand, damp from its breath. The beast is an imprisoned form, the boy thinks. Forged from what is and of course the fears from above. It wanders here in the maze, trapped in the decayed soil of the sounding box. The boy runs his hands along the beast’s body. The hairs of its matted hide rise to meet the boy’s flesh. Beside the beast, he is a miniature. His quality, absolute beside the mountainous being. The boy balances his body. His left arm leans against the sleeping bull man while he sets himself upright. He sees in the beast’s palms, a tangle of red twine. The beast in fetal position, curled around another maze.



Oliver de la Paz is the author of four books of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, and Post Subject: A Fable. He co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poems, and co-chairs Kundiman’s advisory board. He teaches in the MFA program at Western Washington University.