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Popham & Ouslander – May 2013

Rachel Popham and Erin Ouslander traded words and art. Erin shared this drawing, “What You Eat,” with Rachel:

photo 1

In response, Rachel wrote this poem:

Chickens & Swine

Let go of my apparent center,
rude and ruddy as a new sun:
there is only stillness clotting
under a printless thumb.
Dear invalid blisterclouds,
curled among each other’s
stiff vapor, silent and wrapped
around heat’s brittle finger,

I’ve known a pregnant dream
of feathers, you of mud, but these
are only seams in our cement —
not alternative or memory,
but borrowed fracture all unkindly lent..
You don’t remember squealing,
only bearding peels of fat
that unslickened and lost luster.

All we have together is a trick or track,
a fake elegy of wings and dirt and breath.
How golden and how heavy to forget.
How much easier to inertly smother
and deny, alone, unchecked.
Let me rest my glutted eyes
and don’t turn back

* * * * *

Rachel shared this poem with Erin:

Wedding #1: Blue

Trouble has thin heron legs
and trouble will wait on them.
I know blue as danger, tall
over fish-glimmering water,
and the dipping black beak,
and the wings by which
devils escape me.
I’ve stayed clear of the shallows,
the dim, wealthy wetlands.
But bring me your name
like an armful of rushes
and I’ll answer with baskets
to fill and to float.

Wedding #2: Borrowed

Take measures from neighbors
of meaning and action,
of promise and circumstance,
of hell and heaven.
Sift and mix in a glass bowl.
Eat what’s resulting.
Give back to the sewers.
Give back to the neighbors.

Wedding #3: New

Baby, if your feet are sore
I’ll put them in hot water.
When in doubt, start over.
Grab the salts and stone and slough;
so that we can be hurt again, we must
scrub back to tender.
Give me your toes,
your little heels,
your arches.

Wedding #4: Old

The floods left long ago;
the bridge remains, part symbol
and part rust, a red truss spider,
the town’s long useless arm,
reminder of rain’s dangers.
Someday the swollen river
will pry it from its structure,
drag its groaning belly
low along the bed.

In response, Erin made this digital illustration, entitled “Something Bluebird:”

something bluebird

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