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DeLarm & Poniatowski – November 2019

JoAnne Poniatowski and Jeanne DeLarm traded art and words. JoAnne shared this drawing, titled “Bradley Park,” with Jeanne:

In response, Jeanne wrote this poem:

Two Paper Birches

She rolled into the driveway
and spotted it, our birch tree,
its bark stripped to its waistline,
down to its green exposed flesh.

With a paring knife, I cut
its white skin. Peeled it off.
Folded it. With a needle,
I sewed the page ends together
to build a canoe for acorns.

Set it to float in the sink. It tipped
when my mother shouted.
So I sent the canoe to ply air,
to fly out an evening window.

It did not die, that birch.
It grew a belt of rough,
scarred bark to tie together
its delicate, paper-white suit.

I carry with me
that primary, violated tree.

Two of them. Roots latch
and trunks rub together a patch
rich with decayed, shed leaves.

Birches rise up where they land
as seeds dropped from catkins.
They suffer gnarls and bumps
and climb into sunny air.

Even if gashed by draught years,
till one of them falls.

* * * * *

Jeanne shared this poem with JoAnne:

Baby Black Dragon
Varanus salvator

A solid lizard slides a burnished ledge,
And its claws tap flesh-pink rock.

On my side of a Plexiglas border,
my head low to the floor,
I’m buried, trapped in sand.

I squat to inspect muscles under skin,
watch legs propel torso.

My eye levels the lizard.
His eye, flat parietal,
caresses the hand’s span between us.
He smells mammalian perfume.

I press myself against our wall,
the stretch of me as long as him.

His snout juts over my hair
and his blue tongue flicks,
long as a lasso.

In response, JoAnne made this digital drawing, titled “Morelia Heloderma”: