Issue 7 | Summer 2010

Three Poems

Imagining Emily Dickinson in 1852

She’s thinking of song—
dividing the day into eight
juicy bits,

into sixty little books
of six folded sheets,
“always in ink,”

the worm of oblivion
tucked neatly into one
gnawed corner—

polishing some lapidary
idea of a frayed eternity.

Her hair is red
feathers—a robin’s
breast (wary little bird
binding us to her
paint.) Her

wandering pupil stares
sideways to infinity;
it is morning where she is—

the sun passing
like a swollen eye
across the crowded


Sewing Box

Half-hidden, her thimble,
little dimpled well.
What residue
of her salt
does it contain?

(The chary bird in me
loves to sip from it.)
Measuring tape, scissors…
Enough equipment here
for the tedious Fates.

Yes, here is her favorite
pincushion, the sharps
and darners stuck in it
like small, heroic


Sacred Love

The trees practice it
all winter—the honey

locusts, with their spiritual
thorns, their dry pods

of sweetness,
the death pale birches

like bony priestesses
and the deflowered flower

girl plums, naked
and wind-thrashed,

in bruise colors.
But, what ascetic hermit

can resist disporting
when April unbosoms!

one of Vermeer’s women,
dressed up in such lush

tapestries, lavish embroideries,
brazen perfumes—

Filed under: Poetry