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Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)

Poetry,   pp. 22-28

Page 24

The Only Jewish 
Family in the 
Out back, my mother pins old shirts 
to lines, their white arms waving 
off the sparrows. This year the puddle 
spring leaves in the gully is so deep 
ducks come, a hatch of tadpoles 
wriggles. I make boats of walnut shells 
and chewing gum, a toothpick 
mast, and set my paper sails to catch 
light wings of wind, to sail across 
the surface of my life the way these words 
set out to cross the page, a tremolo 
of thought. My sister calls my name 
and lets go of the swing, her body pausing 
in mid-flight before Earth clasps her 
to its breast again. But I don't care. 
Like any sailor, I study the sky; 
I study puffs of cumulus, 
the bashful sun. The kids next door 
insist that Heaven is a cloud, 
so beautiful the dead give thanks 
for dying, but no Father's hand 
extends to me, no angel chorus sings, 
unless you count the rain. I hear it 
every night against my window, 
complicating sleep as its words 
strike night's surface. The kids 
next door chase us and tell us 
that we're damned; they pinch 
with fingernails, pull hair. My father's 
shirts fill the nothingness 
of angels, and my small boats 
tip. I close my lids to keep 
a world of silent faces in. 
by Judith Harway 
Judith Harway's poetry has been published in numerous literary 
journals, and collected in The Memory Box (Zarigueya Press, 
2002). She has earned fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts 
Board, the Hambidge Center, and the MacDowell Colony, as 
well as grant support from the Wisconsin Arts Board and 
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design. She is on the faculty of 
Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and holds an MFA from 
Columbia University's School of the Arts. 
Spi rog ra ph 
When I was a kid I had a Spirograph 
it was a plastic ring with gears inside 
each of them held a pen 
like a Ouija board planchette 
only instead of spirits you could summon 
orange tornadoes with mechanical precision 
or conjure a pink slinky from 
a row of overlapping circles 
each one gradually advancing 
I met Julius Schwartz in 1995 
at a fantasy convention 
he used to be a literary agent 
and he once met H.P. Lovecraft 
Lovecraft died in 1937 
I had an old ASTOUNDING magazine 
with one of Lovecraft's stories in it 
one that Schwartz had sold for him in 1935 
so I got him to autograph it 
60 years after the fact 
he laughed and said it was 
the only one he'd ever signed 
I was with my Grampa 
we were in a cemetery 
looking at his Grampa's headstone 
he was born in Germany in 1852 
we stood there for a while not saying anything 
Grampa was in his eighties 
and I remember thinking 
that in 40 years I'd be his age 
that someone young who knows me then 
could live until 2100 
it's like my Father showing me 
a pocket watch from 1690 
the mechanism driven by a tiny chain 
the watch advancing gradually 
through time along its chain of owners 
opening my hand I feel its weight 
and I imagine moments overlapping 
lives advancing while I go in circles 
by Michael Kriesel 
Michael Kriesel lives near Wausau. Recipient of the 2004 
Lorine Niedecker Poetry Prize from the Council for Wisconsin 
Writers, he has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize 
for his poetry. His reviews appear in Small Press Review. His 
work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rosebud, The 
Progressive, and Bitter Oleander. "Spirograph" is from a 
chapbook scheduled to appear from Marsh River Press. 

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