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Animals wait in shadow.
Morning's soft yellow

turns to noon's piercing heat.
The calendar on the wall

marks the day with a square
as though beginnings

and endings
could be contained.

I fear you're leaving me -
slowly, tornados

of dust in your bones.
Your flesh will turn blue,

you’ll call to me
from the bottom

of an evening lit field -
white winter words.

Night will hold out its empty cup,
moon will fill it with silence.

Counter Top*

I arrive just after a thunder storm,
my sister’s down
30 pounds to under 98.

She’s faced with the insurmountable
task of carrying a tea bag
from cup to garbage,

the counter piled high
with week old dishes, plastic
containers, jars, bottles,

waiting to be washed.
I brought a painting
to hang over the table -

an orange circle glowing
through transparent blue,
a metaphor, say…

the light within.
But here in her dark falling
I put on rubber gloves

and begin to scrub:
sponge, dish soap,
scouring pad, and now

the counter top -
yellow and shining.



In Velvet*

Thick with red eyes glowing,
night descends into the house,
100,000 billion galaxies

expanding and spiraling above.
Alone, does fear always seep
into the thick soles of our feet?

Sometimes an unfinished crossword
left in a chair, a sweater
draped over the arm

reminds me of your absence.
I’ve been taking walks,
hunting for small treasures,

surrendering to mystery’s seduction –
water carves into stone,
roots branch out like veins,

unearthed bones
piece together histories.
How many have a tooth saved,

wrapped in velvet, buried
in the back of a drawer?
I keep the hand-like bones

of a flipper found in the sand.
The bones of our hands
are particularly complicated,

especially the fingers –
what we cannot hold
and what we can.


  (1) Snakes shed it in the woodpile
  (2) A mummy's is more brittle than ancient parchment
  (3) If cut with the jagged edge of a mirror it confines you to psyche ward
  (4) It stabilizes the body’s temperature

You can only sense the blood
coursing underneath –
you can’t peel back
the layers and dive in.
     Touch the surface –
the pores, moles, the occasional hard
scars that hint at ancient entrances -
the belly-button that spirals inward,
scars of childhood mosquito bites
scratched to scabs and picked,
small bloodlettings.

Beyond the surface
(sweaty, powdered, tan, light, dark, freckled, wrinkled, smooth, sagging, lifted, dry, oily, oiled, shaved, plucked, stitched, tattooed, pierced, bruised)
the swell of belly, the cut
and reconstructed right breast
the sharp bone
that rages underneath.
Move your hand slowly.


My poetry has appeared in a variety of literary journals and a chapbook entitled, Turnings was published in 2009. The poem
*"Turnings" was published in Salamader, June 2011. *"Counter Top" was published in Calyx, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, Vol. 26 no. 3, Summer 2011. *"In Velvet" was published inthe Worchester Review, XXXIV, Number 1& 2, 2013.


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Marian Willmott, Hinesburg, VT  • marianw@gmavt.net •  802 482-3131