Pulling out the Phials from Joseph Cornell's L'Egypte de Mlle Cleo de Merode: cours elementaire d'Histoire Naturelle and Examining Each One, Causing Blanks
Overindulgence, waste, and extravagance are off limits.
Here we see sand from a polluted beach, some aluminum, some crab shell.
It's not that this is insanity.
How do we know this contains the granulation of fingernails?
The appropriate choice is, of course, to continue on, to continue on.
Like crushed love beads, the colours are giving me a headache.
From now on, let's suppose the mathematical dilemma facing us has already given up on us.
Choosing liquid, something blue, not like sky but as in frescoes.
We should move wrist to wrist, froth up sheets of greasy spheres.
The chaos which would arise if, say, a man loved someone.
A matter somewhere between shame and hope at leafing through pictures.
Stirring up coffee grounds floating shallow in the painted cup.
Butterflies whose wings beat as fast as our hearts beside what we have done.
When all of it together comes out to be more than what any could have been alone.
What we expected, bending to wrap our hands around bottle shards or just air.
Magdelyn Hammond Helwig
Magdelyn Hammond Helwig is an Assistant Professor and the Writing Program Director at Western Illinois University. She received her MFA in poetry in 1999 and PhD in English in 2010 from the University of Maryland, College Park. Having published and presented academically on ekphrastic poets such as Frank O’Hara, Ted Hughes, C.D. Wright, and Walt Whitman, she is now turning her pen to writing ekphrastic poetry herself.
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