Wolf Eye

Laurel Bastian

Climbing Agnes Martin's Grid

Everything is stairs. Start at
the waxed floor, hardwood planks
fit with care to dovetail.

All stairs lead to eaves. White rungs
like teeth, like symphonies. Math of stars
and progress, they lead,

I weep the parlor, they lead, in time
our hearts are birds are mandolins.
The quality of air is gong.

One white shoe.  One white and kidskin
infant. The childish knees press on
past clouds. Look down —

our beings are followed across mirrors
of water by a fleet of shallow boats. 
Each boat filled with lilies.

The altitude has dropped my name. 
Where are they sending our bodies?
Small as ants. The flat oar

dipping like a spoon. Twelve o’clock
and all’s well at the last rung. 
Rise. Wave. Drawing

the swimmers’ motion out of its glittering
limbs. Step into the step into
grass made of light,

veins of light, the blind-gold crest of space.
Bless and shed the serviceable bones.
In grace, release the stern.

Stars Shut Down

Even the men concerned only
with numbers are afraid
of the sudden dark.
Twelve hours of light each day
was dependable. These days
it's three and dropping.
The religious think
apocalypse. The pragmatic
carry Maglights. Farmers
nap in dead fields.

We who have been traveling
methodically, the mortar and pestle
of our legs going up and down
driveways with petitions, tinctures,
watches for sale inside our lapels
are at a loss. Evening encroaches at lunch.
Neighbors draw their shutters
and latch the gate.

At dusk, we start our hunt
for the missing: suits
or silver girls with strollers,
the man who left at five a.m.
with a bucket of worms.

Soon there will be only one
shot-glass of light.

Someone is calling the errand boy,
the boy with the original apple.
Someone gives himself up to his
shadow, who goes flat
to the black river to swim.
Someone sifts through alleys
for a bit of sea glass, a shoe, random
exhibits of us shedding our kind,
snapshot, map, key.

Laurel Bastian has work in Cream City Review, Margie, and Nimrod; and was a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Fellowship. Bastian teaches a creative writing workshop for writers in prison and is finishing an MFA in Madison, Wisconsin. contactweb site


The 2River View