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More of the series’ rough drafts.

February 7, 2008

Jane Iradelle Williams Blackwell

Frizzed chocolate hair parted centrally,
into a Grecian bun, covering the ears of a somber face.
Two soft, grey eyes carry the ocean to Marion,
where John has built her a house.

They met at a wedding in Wilmington;
she was kin to the Derizettes on one side,
and he on the other. It was his coal-black eyes
that drew her, round and half-pinned

under his cheeks like setting suns behind hills.
They were to be her daughters’ eyes also.
He built her a kiln, behind the house,
outside of town. She spent mornings

with her tiny china plates, brushing the bone
with the colors of wildflowers:
deep purple, hanging foxglove on its tall
stalks, among trumpet-vines and grasses.

Moving to the love goddesses’ fly-traps,
bluebells and honeysuckle, with its languid
tongue-petal, inviting children to pull
the stamen from its heart, and press

their lips to the hidden end, she chronicled
the wildflowers of her Carolin’.
In her wedding photo she held, among
the white roses, cat-tails and goldenrod.

Alchemical Hypnosis

You hiccupped and kicked, beat me
mercilessly. You never slept.

Dr. Gamble quartered off my back
in sod-squares, needling the world
in boxes across my skin, waiting
for red swells to crack the surface.
Striking words from his list: shellfish, Styrofoam, hair, dust.

The glass vials were to grant me breath.

I would whisper to you, my flutter,
my unknown daughter, unknown even as girl:

You will die.
Or your hands
will be withered
like Hibiscus, left too long in the bald sun.

Your tiny heart grows fearful,
intolerant as my skin.

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