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  Patricia Barone
Patricia Barone
Patricia Barone is a Milwaukee native and graduate of Marquette University, whose poetry has been anthologized by numerous publishers, including New Rivers Press and Prentice Hall. She is author of a novella, The Wind, and a book of poetry, Handmade Paper, both published by New Rivers Press. Her most recent poetry collection is The Scent of Water (Blue Light Press, 2013). Her awards include a Loft-McKnight Award of Distinction in poetry, a Lake Superior Contemporary Writers Award, and a Minnesota State Arts Board Career Opportunity Grant for a workshop with the Irish poet Eavan Boland.

Survival



Patricia Barone
After the April blizzard,
we meet on the beach.
You torch the drift wood—
salt explodes in rainbows,
snow melt, steam and sizzle.
Lobsters hurtle down the dunes,
our kettle on the boil enough for all.

A man in pajamas brings a door
to sit on, our table. A girl finds wine
in rubble, and a boy holds a sea gull,
splinting its wing with his hands.
I'd live again for such a fire.


Seeing Through This World

Samhain in America



Streetlight to streetlight,
through oil-slicked puddles,
no one removes a mask.

Inside, I slice chocolates,
and no one asks questions.
No glass in the caramel.
No razor in the cake.

Claire in her pink tutu pirouettes
to Offenbach's Bluebeard.
As she unwinds her spin,
my old Polaroid steals her whirl.

A flash and she emerges from the cloud—
green morphing peach, her hands
cupped above her head, her gauzy dress
blanched white, each black eyelash etched
then thinned, skin pallid, exposed.

As the trumpets fade,
the ghosts and clowns stop capering.

I pluck their sticky image out—
Children rising from the photo
forget to smile.

Looking back an era later,
by minutes or a century, we see

how Claire's arm lifts
and curves at the elbow, arabesque,
as she holds the poisoned apple of the world.


Blake's Beautiful Failure

after Blake's visions and a print, Satan Inflicting Boils on Job


Men stacking sheaves complain of the heat. Above one tree
on Peckham Rye, the air is filled with a host of clear wings.

Below is William, a hunched engraver who pushes his burin
to score a line not drawn by chance in the copper plate:

Yahweh and snake entwine, devils pulling Job below.
Soon they'll grab this ink-stained fool, old William.

Not the boy he was at nine years old—Will Blake,
who saw such visions! Gray-haired William weeps.

Like Job, he can't dispel devils or call prismatic angels.
He remembers a silver tree, bent low in a deasil wind.

Angels multiply in rainbows for young Will. The Seraphims' toes
skim the hedgerow and glide the whitebeam's low crown,

slowing the spinning leaves. Again, old William sees
a downy nimbus around each leaf; hair ripples in sunless light.

As the tree uplifts its cargo, Cherubim unsheathe
the carmine scales on each unopened bud.

They peel the laurel-green shells, as thin
as the skin on William's eye lids,

revealing creamy nipples; petals of each flower
unfurl. Stars on trembling petioles throng branches,

replacing angels' feet—Thrones and Dominions leave
but hover while petals fall. Will cries for fragrance and feathers.

William knows how ripeness turns to rot, how spent russet leaves
flame on dregs of grapes, called rape—only good for vinegar,

bad dreams: Ammonia fumes rise to old William's nose,
and he wakes Job before the fiends can chain him.

Men stacking sheaves complain of the heat. Above one tree
on Peckham Rye, the air is filled with a host of clear wings.


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