The year of my birth, you
were already painting
me after your death:
forehead against forehead against
canvas, your name etched in our skin,
tiny strokes beneath eyes
and mountains, leaves, fields inside the iris.
You knew then how brush and pen intersect and
what shows through.
These nights, back roads and what's left
of their lights hover outside the pane,
your silhouette scratched out
on an easel of trees.
Everywhere is someplace old and lived in,
a small landscape, this world,
posed delicately, like us,
at each window.
Editor's note: This poem is about the writer's aunt, Marjorie Rickey, for whom she was named. Rickey painted the poet's portrait when she was young, and the poem was inspired by it. Rickey studied with Hans Hoffman and had several exhibitions.
This poem was previously published at Perpendicular and I.
Sage Graduate Fellow of Cornell University (MFA) and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published eleven collections of poetry-including True, False, None of the Above; Wives' Tales; Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I; Weeknights at the Cathedral; and Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation; the short story collection What She Was Saying; the anthology (co-editor) Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and four children's books. For more information, please see www.marjoriemaddox.com
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