The Whiteness of Bone
White on white. Was a time I wouldn’t
have seen it, a little snort bursting
from my nose, up-tilted, at the greyish-
white square, askew on the cream ground.
Suprematist Composition, 1918, indeed,
war’s end, and that is all Malevich could
come up with? So much nothing, a long
Sunday, hours mounded like dune sand,
the upward slog, the endless back-sliding.
Then, I was all noise, rushing to get somewhere,
not realizing the deception of motion,
Self always shrouding like the linen skin
of a dressmaker’s dummy. Now I know:
this as far as far as I’m going, this the end
of my leap, all the time in the world
to explore the gradations between pearl
and cream, paper and bone, milky and
opalescent. The dead in the trenches, bone
white against the bleached scroll of years.
The pitted surface, the brushstrokes, the
canvas poking through, plenty for the eyes
of one grown old enough to glean.
Devon Balwit is a writer and teacher from Portland, OR. She has two chapbooks forthcoming--'how the blessed travel' from Maverick Duck Press and 'Forms Most Marvelous' from dancing girl press. Her recent work has found many homes, among them: Oyez, The Cincinnati Review, Red Paint Hill, Timberline Review, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, Trailhead Review, and Oracle.
5/17/2017 06:57:26 pm
A very nice discourse re: white on white. If she is in the mood for variants on the color, the poet might like to check out Agnes Martin's Islands in the Stream at the Whitney Museum in New York. Islands is a fabulous set of plain white portraits that asks the viewer to read each attentively to tell apart their fine, often subtle differences.
7/21/2017 11:53:51 am
Thank You, Norbert. I will.
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