WOODBLOCK PRINTS; WHAT GOES AROUND; I CONJURE YOUR FACE
At the city library, woodblock prints along the wall
grow smaller in size. On the paper there are cold pools,
not meant to last. With long shovels, farmers flick
dead bee hives and dung into an entanglement of trees.
Perhaps this is what Hokusai’s Bullfinch and Weeping Cherry
offers: you move freely, unencumbered. You breathe.
A leaf passes continuously through the afterlight. You see
bird tracks or a woman’s steps fading into snow.
But me, I see the gist of a woman’s body residing
in refusal. The hourglass of her slight frame fills with snow.
All trace of us having passed through the exhibit is gone.
Very little happened. We never spoke about it.
WHAT GOES AROUND
Lotion on our children’s backs.
The sand-bucket’s red.
Knots on bikini strings.
Hair swept up, big time.
So we guess it’s summer.
But our children
remind us anyway.
A book, a palette.
Two paths we never went.
When we look up,
the geese are gone.
I CONJURE YOUR FACE
Speak, stranger. We sleep in separate countries, yet the same moon
climbs into our beds. Tell me how you’ve failed at intimacy.
I’ll tell you about the shouts of a man drenched in acid.
Nowhere has become his familiar perched like night on my shoulder.
My room’s an ugly place to think of you from, with its mossy
linoleum and warped attic. Over a chair, lace hangs
loosed of its pins. Views of parking lots and chimney-smoke domesticate
the windows. Will the time come when we say, pain’s over?
In your country, mining towns disappear
off mountain-tops leaching lead and arsenic. In this country, nuclear villages
now deposit coal and ash along the shore. The ocean floor opens
its throat and no fish come. What’s left?
Two dogs sniff dust; three cows graze on raindrops. Somewhere between us,
one kerosene-light tilts off curtains and casts up rafters
like something worth living for.
Shawn Fawson works and resides with her family in Freeland, WA. Her book 'Giving Way' was published by The Bitter Oleander and won the Utah Book Award for Poetry. Her MFA is from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.