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Spring/Summer 2007, Volume 23.3

Poetry

Susan Kelly-DeWittPhoto of Susan Kelly-DeWitt.


Susan Kelly-DeWitt’s full-length collection The Fortunate Islands is forthcoming from Marick Press in spring 2008. She is the also author of six chapbooks and a letterpress collection. Her work appears in many journals and anthologies. Her awards include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University and The Chicago Literary Award.

 

Jeffers at the Edward Weston Show

Crocker Museum, Sacramento, 2004


There’s a confluence
            among things—

                       the shoulders of a pepper,
the buttocks

            of a pear, cruciferous
                       vegetables

and riverine channels
            of shadow

                       in a dune’s dry tributaries;
the flare

            of light on an upper lip’s
                       down,

the trunk of a cypress, the surf
            off Point Lobos,

                       the riffles of a dead
pelican’s feathers

            and the famous hawk profile of
                       the California poet.

 

Egrets at Bolinas Lagoon

They looked like callas or tulips
you could gather with a fist

or white amaryllis
you could snip from their shimmering
place in the world

you could slip from their stems
with sharp scissors

but they were toiling
the salt under-veins, tunneling
the weedy caverns

with yellow pickaxes
hunting up
a shining nugget
of flesh.

I thought of Van Gogh again:
"Making progress is like miner’s work."

The birds that glowed like headlamps
were transformed by those alchemical
words, into painters and poets.

That same night
I woke nauseous, in a sweat,
with all the old worries.

 

Morro Bay Sketch

I saw the comb jellies gleaming, beached
ink and crystal, in the sea wind’s
cold fire, and

the egrets waiting, wading,
waiting; their sickle necks muscling
under the quartz

feathers, the beaks harpooning,
working the weed-wrack
and foam-lip—

juggling up a little flash, a hopeless
flip and urgent splash
of writhing

through the sand-grit
and surf-crack. Was there
some calligrapher hiding

in the cloudshift that wrestled
and boiled in over them—
some itchy finger

or twitchy nib that sketched them in,
that outlined them all over
with restless mercury?

 

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