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All You Know, and: You Can the Hair (Pink Angels)
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All You Know

Over time you discover all you know
fits into a thimble. Over time
you begin to see the folly
of the vow, the well-made bed,
you hear your mother
all these years later saying not
for nothing in your ear. Where you began
you end, silly girl, it isn't a maze
but a circle, over time you see
what everyone first warned about,
see they were right, the both / neither
of rumor, the spoken for,
the compromised. Over time
it's as clear as a dragonfly in spring,
as pollen from a ghost maple, birthdays,
birth orders, the four corners of most
but not all rooms. As the nose on your face,
your mother again, reminding you
to get out of bed—good morning,
glory!—phrases that knit together
as they spin apart. You remember,
but over time you unknit, spend hours
woven by unseen hands, you can't believe
in the cloud, in worship or school-yard play.
Over time what you learn fits on the point
of a needle, something requiring
your protection, recalling the blue warmth
out of the body into common air.
You can't be sure all of it won't go,
everything you thought was true, the sweat
that gathered some evenings
on your father's brow, what the world
knew of him, what went unnoticed
or covered itself over on purpose—
how can you tell the difference? A manner
of repose in all things, he taught you that,
leaning back on the legs of a kitchen chair,
catching the cinder-block wall
with the hard part of his skull, then easing
onto the rounded cradle of the spine.
And this image in which he still moves—
isn't it good it stays, isn't it
a miracle it holds
all you know?

You Can the Hair (Pink Angels)

You can the hair of the painting pull, you might
its legs. Tender as in ——tender, pull as in one day
bound to be some mended thing. You can
mortar and pestle, a fine ground to work in later,
cup full of shards: mica and cobalt, solitude
for a nightshade. You might a long secret
of yourself make, experimental stuff, master
of gradation, prime ingredient. (Owing to his habits
of working sometimes for months, returning
at a later date.) You can idea-baked-in, backward
into grass, lint on the tongue. You can
work its legs around behind, no love lost!
Make it what you want, torture's too strong
a word, but it's as yours as the one you named
Attic because you can put anything in it, that
kind of logic. You can its lovely eyes the color
of a fresco in Pompeii. Later they'll be confused,
they'll say ambivalent, impossible to interpret, but by then
you're beyond explaining, forgetful, your arms
full of starfish. (A late picture of the master
near his house in _______.) But this is not that:
here you're the man of the early studio where girls
knock on the door late, yell up no matter the hour
from the dark street. And you, meticulous,
concentrated, who knows what dream spells you,
what future geometry grows native, what heart
a feather keeps. And what have you to fear? (You
will never but have imagined such a light.)

Carol Ann Davis  

Carol Ann Davis is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry; her poetry collections are Psalm and Atlas Hour. Recent work is forthcoming or just out in Volt, The American Poetry Review, and Image. Last year, after editing Crazyhorse for over a decade and directing the undergraduate pro­gram in creative writing at the College of Charleston, she joined the faculty of Fairfield University's MFA program.

Copyright © 2013 Louisiana State University Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Carol Ann Davis. "All You Know, and: You Can the Hair (Pink Angels)." Southern Review 49.2 (2013): 175-177. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Davis, C. A.(2013). All You Know, and: You Can the Hair (Pink Angels). Southern Review 49(2), 175-177. Louisiana State University...

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