The philanderer and the harlot gave you the world’s tiniest violin to play at their multiple weddings. They are your parents.
Across town your sister sits in a flower dress, only long enough to cover her sadness.
You sing as you play: O, persistent shame, come hither; ever the second child, they had to throw out the first
not like a baseball or a bouquet but like a miscarriage spinning in history’s pale, porcelain bowl.
I see you have grown your hair long as a willow. You are beautiful and wise. When the whispers begin
you never stop cooking but follow the recipe by heart
so your ears are free to catch even one fact before it’s doused quick as a firefly, to bring at night to your sister
hidden in the silo. There she sits, a shy ram on the sidelines, as they go through the grand motions of laying the greater good on the pyre.
The Frank Stella Irrespective
“Do you still call these things paintings?” “Yes, they are, in fact, paintings.”
I am not your window. I am your door painter.
I am your poor, yearning to be me. Take off the audio-guide and step on it.
I pick colors that follow the race circuit. My biography is cartography.
I am straight from the can. My Jewish gates are closed open to you.
I will destroy the old villages with a protractor. I found the object that you lost in Russia in 1933.
I married a birder. Yes, she was, in fact, a passionate birder.
I wept in jail from an anecdote that made others laugh. See how the picture plane gives it both ways?
I am not a mirror. I am your mirror.
I kept one hand on the wall, it was hard to give it up. I have changed everything with a tiny cut.
Most of all, the painting is an argument. and I am the one who has to be convinced.
-- Merridawn Duckler is a poet and playwright from Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has been featured in The Offing, Unbroken Journal, Cleaver, Crab Creek Review, and others. She is a finalist at Center for Book Arts, Tupelo Press, Sozoplo Fiction Fellowship. Her fellowships and awards include Writers@Work, NEA, Yaddo, Squaw Valley, SLS in St. Petersburg, Russia, Southampton Poetry Conference, Wigleaf Top 50 in micro-fiction, and others. She is an editor at Narrative and the international philosophy journal Evental Aesthetics.