By Robyn Schiff
There’s blue, and then there’s blue.
A number, not a hue, this blue
is not the undertone of any one
but there it is, primary.
I held the bouquet
in shock and cut the stems at a deadly angle.
I opened the toxic sachet of flower food
with my canine and rinsed my mouth.
I used to wash my hands and daydream.
I dreamed of myself and washed
my hands of everything. Easy math.
Now I can’t get their procedure
at the florist off my mind.
The white flowers arrived! They overnighted
in a chemical bath
and now they have a fake laugh
that catches like a match
that starts the kind of kitchen fire
that is fanned by water.
They won’t even look at me.
Source: Poetry (December 2014)
Poet Robyn Schiff was born in New Jersey. She earned an MFA at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an MA at the University of Bristol. Her work frequently treats objects and historical figures in virtuosic lyric detail. In an interview with the Poetry Society of America, Schiff stated, “more so than a specific practice in one of the other arts, curation as an art form in itself has most informed me. Of course at museums I’m moved by so many individual works—but it’s the crosstalk between seemingly disparate objects that really inspires me.” Schiff is a professor at the University of Iowa and lives with her husband, poet and filmmaker Nick Twemlow, in Iowa City.
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What Women Are Made Of
We are all ventricle, spine, lung, larynx, and gut.
Clavicle and nape, what lies forked in an open palm;
we are follicle and temple. We are ankle, arch,
sole. Pore and rib, pelvis and root
and tongue. We are wishbone and gland and molar
Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White.
— Emily Dickinson
in the split geode
a Santa’s grotto
every surface —
like sea urchins’ —
in the doorways
sleepers from the womb
to make of anything succulent