Home > Poetry > And a Red Mouth
Published: Fri Jul 1 2016
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Online 2016 Nature Spirituality Violence
And a Red Mouth

for Arshile Gorky

Four bedded down in woods four                 and us at the window

aware of what’s unaware of us                                      three count a fourth

a shape                                     hidden past the ear of who

we can’t say                                        what their relationship

each to the other we can’t                            our own or severally

to God inside                                    brush on canvas

his small way of abstractly                                          recalling fields

washing stones                                 of poplar leaf sirs

in orchard wind              to color what can’t

its beauty convey                          crane our necks

to hear it                           bed ourselves into all

that would seek cold winds                          Arshile recalling

his earlier names                             the holy tree

from which hung                                                  strips of clothing

a pilgrim’s practice             marked genocide-pure

four bedded down                              sleep-dozing            if we let them

if we let it               darkness comes

stitched in yellow                                and a red mouth

by Ulrike Draesner
Translated from the German by Iain Galbraith
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Carol Ann Davis is the author of the poetry collections Psalm (Tupelo Press, 2007) and Atlas Hour (Tupelo, 2011) and a forthcoming essay collection, The Nail in the Tree: On Art, Violence, and Parenting (Tupelo, 2019). Her work has been published in The Georgia ReviewAGNI, The American Poetry ReviewThe Gettysburg ReviewBeloit Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. An NEA fellow and finalist for a National Magazine Award, she is professor of English at Fairfield University, where she is founding director of Poetry in Communities, an initiative that brings writing workshops to communities hit by sudden or systemic violence. She lives in Newtown, Connecticut. (updated 4/2019)

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