The Poetry Porch 2: Poetry

Three Poems by Joyce Wilson

by Joyce Wilson

must be walked through,
felt on the skin, whether tuft
or filament, stitch or tear,
a sudden freshness
like anise on the tongue,

though the slightest 
motions jostle and churn 
like moths fluttering
against the curvature of sky
as beneath an inverted glass,

a nontranslucence, 
the dappled flecks of a 
pointillist's sleepy, mono-
chromatic dream, remnants
from another world

resting on boughs like rows
of herringbone, shags of chenille,
a quilt's new batting, or lacework
where threads were pulled
through and knotted,

holding light against dark
in a garment or field
glittering under the winter sun,
until the brilliant petals fold
and we feel the cold.

(This poem was accepted for publication by America.
Copyright © 1996 by Joyce Wilson.)

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The Rodin Drawing
by Joyce Wilson

The drawing hung above the head
of my parentsí twin tufted-covered beds;

behind the glass, lying lengthways,
the figure of a man with one leg raised.

It was true, the head was far too black,
rendered solid with a heavy charcoal stick,

and the torso, not of any style or age,
floated, as if flung upon the page.

I remember needing to imitate its awkward pose;
on my back I lay, then one leg rose.

The story my mother often told portrayed
my father as a galavant in New York, on his way

to his first paying job
when he spent the only cash he had

on a drawing, for the love of art
and some odd fascination with the work.

When we came to have the piece reframed
(years after my father died),

the restorer amused himself with our tale.
"A bookstore in New York, well, well, well.

Isnít this our lucky day."
He smiled at us in a knowing way,

took the paper carefully off the back,
lifted the pastel drawing from its rack,

held it upright, then upside down,
examined the paper and the ground.

Avoiding my motherís steel gray eyes,
he said to the woman at his side,

"By the way, whatís for supper?"
Showed no concern when she didnít answer,

went on, a curly-headed judge:
"Possessions like this are like a marriage,

what looks like the real thing
turns out to be anther failing

in the eye of the beholder;
youíd as soon have one as have another.

Now youíre getting on enough in years
to know how often something real appears."

The fragile paper seemed the sole surviving part
of my father, his love of art.

I vowed to keep it
regardless of the final verdict.

The restorer hugged his hairy fist.
"You said your father bought this

for a song in a book store in New York?
Do you know how much a Rodin might be worth?

This is not a fake.
Darling, donít let the table shake!"

(This poem was runnerup in the 1996 Poetry Competition of Stand Magazine.
Copyright © 1995 by Joyce Wilson.)

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by Joyce Wilson

I am plagued by the invisible ones,
the discarded silken lines
that raise
an irritating film on the forehead,

and I look up only
to find dusty tangled nests
at the ceiling's edge.
The shadows create impossible alphabets.

All morning I wait for the moment
my mind settles into the intricacy of webwork,
and the pencil circles and loops
without stopping.

(This poem first appeared in Poetry and Audience.
Copyright © 1992 by Joyce Wilson.)

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