In a room with ruined blinds, someone is writing a poem, someone is singing
alto under the angels: someone else; she makes melody her dependent. Someone else--
Here the conditions for beauty are ripe. I own a spoon
meant only for honey; hawks cross the yard, large as puppies, on the other side
of the glass my desk faces; I can spare my son tangerines when he asks
for oranges, when he wants to drive studs of clove into their skins like the orphans
in his book, kids who scare off spirits simply by making pomanders. He asks.
I am writing a poem—and not, like someone, in an ill-favored place; I have only
to harmonize. I mean there are hymns that scoop something from the earth--
opal, son, quill of Hawk’s red tail-- and hold it under a stronger light,
and there are hymns that borrow nothing. Someone teaches an apple
to leap, polished, from her sleeve; in a room with ruined blinds, she is writing a poem, someone is adorning an orchard never meant to fruit
Conditional Love Poem
It does not take many folding chairs or much distance to remind me that I might not have found you. Without sons, without friends, in a row of people we do not know, you look suddenly, distressingly separate: a man who could have had another life. A long time ago, a stranger snatched the X at the back of my overalls before I could cross the street that a box truck barrelled down. Which is how-- on seeing you, seated among strangers—I recognize this affront as relief, as gratitude almost outraged.
-- Jane Zwart teaches at Calvin University, where she also co-directs the Calvin Center for Faith & Writing. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, Threepenny Review, TriQuarterly, and Ploughshares, as well as other poetry journals and magazines. Along with Timothy Liu, she serves as a reviews editor for Plume.