STUDY IN INCREMENT
One conversation is contained in the room.
There are two but only one chair to comfortably sit in.
Add that one is in love with the other.
It might have been you.
The light outside falling slovenly on and through the shape of the sycamore
Siphoned, somewhat deflected where the vascular connectives knot, but
soft, is so.
It is dusk.
Pinks and red.
If somewhere Achilles is soaking in the still hot Mediterranean sun,
I study the pieces of a painting.
One woman is standing.
The woman standing beside the well glances inward at a sylvan conversation.
There is a shepherd.
There is a man with red bouffant sleeves and a cap.
This painting is Bellini’s.
It hangs in the National Gallery four miles away from the room where
Mine was the conversation.
To understand the quality of resistance tightening, take Agamemnon annoyed.
Achilles is soaking.
He dangles his hand down from the hammock, hot sun, into the hair of
Counter to natural inclination, the collage-artist, my friend, has cut
the canvas in half
Reattached it leaving a gap, which makes the scene more real.
For dusk, a coopery auburn color.
The red hints show real anger.
If you lift the ancient Athenian vase and stare
In gold, encircled there: two figures and around the outside a procession.
To step from the path of a person approaching is so different from dodging
The body in time, a body absorbing.
Outside the slatted walnut-tree leaves are discernable against the sky,
Whereas on the grass they fall without precision.
There is a shepherd with bare feet.
There is a man with an embroidered shirt who carries a flute.
The two are conversing.
The one with the flute looks in at the conversation,
Whereas, the one pouring water looks into the well, bored and unrelenting.
Think of Achilles.
Achilles does not want to bury his friend because he loves him.
In the room, that one will wrong the other is the inevitable situation.
But Achilles will not bury Patroclus’ body until the ghost arrives
and commands him.
He wants another moment to touch him.
Instantaneousness though is the proof of nothing.
The one pouring water looks bored by the others.
According to X-radiography, once she had not been.
Inside the room there is a pattern.
Longer then shorter gaps punctuate the increasingly lively post-concert
It was my friend who explained to me the vase as she saw it in a museum.
Achilles uses both of his hands to tend to his friend’s wounded
The tendon in Patroclus’ outstretched foot parallel to the backs
of the men
Is the force holding the image inside the frame.
They want to stay.
The pupils of their eyes are very wide, admissive of pain, but so pleased
Perfect in that, the stillness there is before the epic moves again.
crylic on canvas 72 x 100"
see more work by Ruth Bolduan
Only once have I driven home through
but twice have I sat by the carousel in Avignon
dumbly amused by the children, wanting
or not the pleasure of turning, not a one
unable to decide. It is true,
extinct are the moa and elephant birds
but still representing the ratites, the emu,
kiwi, rhea and ostrich, large birds
with oversize breastbones that once
were graced with flight but are no more.
Named after the Swiss geologist, Agissiz,
and covering over the heart of the then continent
America, giant glacier, glacier
which according to the scientists melted
within the span of a year, bringing
with it manifold great myths of the flood. Man
arrives, final mountains rise. Inland migration
brings the usefulness of caves, arrow-
heads and with the urn the idea
of wanting. It strikes me places
most often thought of and most loved
to whence return can almost lack meaning, there is
a kind of being that is an erasure. From the story
of Noah and the dove, etcetera,
comes the idea horizon, the green branch
the wavering. Do you remember
the lemon drink that afternoon as tasting
bitter, or not? That there was no fire that time,
that there is none, but time, concerns me
as I fear we are burning as
the children turning wave goodbye.
comes from, also
as in caught on
the roofline the
ladder that is
leaning and there
the sky appear
bitten. It is
of copper. Where
a quarry is
in front of long
blank cliff walls, a
propped on cement
blocks if you want
to purchase one.
I found Sunday—
thick turquoise pools
off in sections:
blue is complex,
an oxide dye.
Sometimes I find
to which I can't
connect. Dark lines
trail off without
banal the fact
inside the sun.
adds toughness in
steel and tungsten.
Throughout the town
blue oat grass and
wild moonbeam runs.
The mining holes
and between them
the landscape on.
Crushed and milled pounds
of ore will go
for just one pound
of dust. Rock blown
are the hillsides.
What glows inside
comes from the dust
in random streaks,
as a stream splits
open the earth’s
darkness. It seems
strange this wanting
to be convinced
we lean toward
the things we find
The restaurant owner opened the doors
To let in the smell from the sea
Which stuck on the breeze. On the table,
A white linen, a low candle, a tiger lily bouquet.
The specials chalked in cursive we read
From a slate, while the waiter, starched shirt
And folded apron, explained them and we ordered,
At first, a carafe of a thinner than usual white colored wine.
My mother sat across from me.
She did not lean her elbow on the table, nor slide
The weight of her up the arm to make a leading shoulder.
The light in her eyes was first a pool, then a line.
Outside the skiffs in exit sailed toward us.
On the corner a crushed diet coke can.
What she said changed me.
Salt was exploding all over the sea.
Sally Keith is the author of three books
of poetry: The Fact of the Matter (Milkweed
Editions, 2011), Dwelling Song (University of Georgia
Press, 2004), and Design, winner of the 2000
Colorado Prize for Poetry. She has published poems in Colorado
Review, Denver Quarterly, A Public Space, Black
Clock and Literary Imagination. Recipient of a Pushcart
Prize and fellowships at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and the
Ucross Foundation, she is a member of the MFA Faculty at George Mason
University and lives in Washington DC.
in Volume 12, Number 4, Fall 2011.