Emily Wilson

Rookie (1968 / Ohio / United States)

Scratchings Among The Burnings - Poem by Emily Wilson

clouds in rafts above, upon one another, pushed up along
the margin of sky
dark underbellies
Shirring of grasses and the nearly empty apple tree behind
Where is this beginning from?
The roll of clouds bolsters up close
moves vaguely east
Hear the interstate, its rush of backdrop constant
Oh those deep colors are something sacred
There are patches of olive green, chartreuse, umber, piled
against each other, snapping and smoking almost
and then the empty prongs and systems
against the grays, burnished and glowing
The cloud roll has changed now, been buffeted slowly
into bunches, disorganizing
Oh, these torches before me that seem to burn brighter
as the light fades
This aching gradation, smear and
gleam-forth and then the bare black hands up through
splaying and forcing the crowns
so slightly, just a tender worrying up from inside
the swollen gloves, the spheres of them, the undoing
the serial falling-off
Furious brocade, yes, devastation
That one oak in its torque
and above, against the maddening subtle surface of the sky
the barely defined roads upon it, the passages
the growings-forth
gobbed and wrought, rich impasto
stubborn, unbecoming
Now the grays, almost purple, seem to move forward
branching up from out of the background
darkening forth
surge from within the mass
organisms coming up against each other, bulging and turning
off, roiling
slow and mesmeric
the contained motion of it rooted
static movement, within stasis
damage then recovery, damage then recovery
A lighter band of sky now, stratum between dark cloud and
complicated span of tree-frieze
layering, up-changing
free-needled, built-up duns and copperings
score and rose-green gore, stitch and fret
always upon the under-thing, the broad backing up over
the one

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Poem Submitted: Monday, July 21, 2014

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