Summer 2002 • Vol. XXIV No. 3/4 Poetry |

Fence of Sticks

As I was building a fence of sticks, I heard the question, weren't there times worse than this for art? Weren't there those who, rather, bristled were they understood, who worked alone, the manuscripts thrown out or bled beyond the margins. I was sewing the wire between the pine and sycamore, tightening the warp with willow and forsythia, some just in bloom. I thought of those who'd sooner hang themselves than call truth heresy. Upon whose deaths the citizens rejoiced. They who burned everything. Those who died longing to say more, whose heads rolled singing. I was strict with myself, worked long past noon. The gloves made the weaving hard so I wrought barehanded. So many pages ending ____ or neatly numbered, or written across the mind. Those for whom art was not an occupation. Indeed, some never wrote again after what war or famine. Some wrote of nothing else. I gathered the climbing roses' whips almost impossible to fit, that made a lovely spiraling pulled taut, resisting, each se

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