From Places in the Bone
In her office, the doctor holds up a Plexiglas drawing of inside a woman and runs a fingernail over the floating shapes I'm about to lose...I remember my college history professor facing a map of Europe and pointing to France, Poland and Czechoslovakia, all taken by the Nazis.
Courtesy of Samual Bak
From Orange Night
On the cot, the boy dreams that something crawls
from his pillowcase: an orange bird, the wet beak,
an oval eye; its feet, breaking through the bottom seam,
totter on the driftwood floor. All the walls are gray.
Someone has drilled an opening in the plaster above his head.
A real cloud peeps through the circle as in a faraway movie.
Suddenly, thundering boots, men shouting.
Stirring, the boy tries to stay asleep, not to miss the scene
when the bird steps toward the gaping hole, unfurls
its fluted cinnamon wings and lifts.
Vincent van Gogh, January-june 1887
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, NL
From Van Gogh in Poems
My features, voices, amplified, floating.
The nose, a phallus at rest. Around the bend
of brow, another brow forms a cliff.
Primitive circles, my eyes
stalk afternoon shadows.
Barbed wire beard;
demonic lines scratch at my cheek.
Seen through the paper,
absence retains its form.