In a Perfect Oval
In a perfect oval, contralto, to catch from the corner of your eye
Your portrait on a landscape, I’d go far. Tintoretto, Seurat:
Twenty years ago, a score, two decades.
You grab the banister
And want to drive your fist in.
A jab. Come out with splinters: something real.
Instead you listen to “O little one, sleep” sung by Kathryn Robyn.
Is real a boot-polisher, an iron-hot poker this Chirstmas Eve.
In warmth that answers rejection: continuity, protection.
I do not know myself to be a woman of faith (she thought):
A world of poverty & community
Closes its circle about me.
Many hands make light work.
A little weather-boarded church like bluejean down the hill
Consider Fidelity embroidered indigo “X’s” on sky where heretics burned
Christmas Eve day:
After all the fuming
Bring Dolly by: a patchwork emotional as sky.
In cold weather, women set in a circle quilting, embroidering, sewing:
A wheel against the gray
Day, hearts beating in hopes for a happier marriage, smoother childbirth,
Conception for some.
Needlework: a wonder beginning with first spring flower
Ending with last fall ones.
Draw flowers on cloth with pencil.
Call up their brilliance. The greater mystery
Stands in the cold staring in at us, Dolly.
Arguing’s such a love-chiller.
After love-locked silence of the household, blood on your fingers from pricking berries,
Toss yourself like a little girl to be hugged.
Daylight full in windows: yellow parafin oilskin,
White as skeleton, clothesline on which night will be hung by a wooden pin.
A velvet tapestry row of trees bleakens.
O landscape, get up
Extinguish the lamp:
Put down the embroider hoop. Clean, refill, trim lamps.
Is our life that cross-stitched bird on the branch?
Is it that schoolhouse log?
Have our lives gone so far from us they can never come back?