Fischer, Joan (ed.) / Wisconsin Academy review
Volume 51, Number 3 (Summer 2005)
Poetry, pp. 22-28
noetrv The Only Jewish Family in the Neighborhood 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. 24 SUMMER 2ooS WISCONSIN ACADEMY REVIEW 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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