to Alma Thomas, who exhibited solo at the Whitney at the age of 81
My page is blank again, Miss Thomas.
I anguish over metrics. Are my rhetorics
a bore? Is there madness in my metaphor, does
the rhyme convey my strife? I stare at
the dead spider on my window screen, grieve
“I’m too damn old to write.” That’s when I see
the pink azalea by my fence, Miss Thomas,
brown sprouts dreaming green.
I never see azaleas, Miss Thomas, that I don’t
think of you-wedged between canvas and bed,
broken hip mending, spinning out scarlet strokes
that float across 13 feet of empty. 158 inches of
“Red Azaleas Singing and Dancing Rock and Roll Music”-
you, feeling 20 inside, wanting more time. When I
look at my page again, Miss Thomas, my words
shimmy, pinhole bright light, ignite with ruby, daub
chunky green. I am seeing my pages as if from
the moon: anew, beautiful.
But what about the voice at my desk that says
I am too damn old to learn how to write? That
woman in my poetry workshop who smirked when
she read this, and asked me what in the world
I think I could tell you? When I turned my back
to her, Miss Thomas it was the truth, I said,
Ann Chinnis has been an Emergency Physician for 40 years and studies in the Writers Studio Master Class under Philip Schultz. She recently participated in a writeathon which opened a new creative world for her writing! Her poetry has been published in The Speckled Trout Review, Sky Island Journal, Sheila-Na-Gig, Nostos, among others. Her first chapbook, Poppet, My Poppet, is forthcoming by Finishing Line Press. Ann Chinnis lives with her wife in Virginia Beach, Virginia where she delights in that mysterious space where the sea meets the sky.
The Ekphrastic Review
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