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And a Red Mouth

by Carol Ann Davis

for Arshile Gorky

Four bedded down in woods four                and us at the window

aware of what’s unaware of us                                     three count a fourth

a shape                                   hidden past the ear of who

we can’t say                                       what their relationship

each to the other we can’t                          our own or severally

to God inside                                   brush on canvas

his small way of abstractly                                          recalling fields

washing stones                                of poplar leaf sirs

in orchard wind             to color what can’t

its beauty convey                         crane our necks

to hear it                          bed ourselves into all

that would seek cold winds                         Arshile recalling

his earlier names                             the holy tree

from which hung                                                 strips of clothing

a pilgrim’s practice           marked genocide-pure

four bedded down                             sleep-dozing           if we let them

if we let it              darkness comes

stitched in yellow                               and a red mouth


Carol Ann Davis, recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, has prose or poetry forthcoming or recently out in The Georgia Review, The American Poetry Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal. Her poetry collections are Atlas Hour (Tupelo, 2011) and Psalm (Tupelo, 2007). She teaches at Fairfield University, where she is editor of the literary journal Dogwood and on the faculty of the Fairfield University MFA Program in Creative Writing. (1/2016)

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