"dazzle gradually"

"Dazzle Gradually" 2017 poems, paintings, new art & photography--a diary, a discipline, a delight. Read over my shoulder as I post my unedited poetry ---you can see it in the raw or get my first book and see how the work evolves with new books rolling out next year.

Polly Alice

Sunday, April 24, 2016

lay out a fleece

when i fold the wool comforter
done with it's afternoon sun--hung
on the back porch to dry
it smells like fresh rain, ivy, no like
ivory linens in the old chest--
saved for a special occasion.

safe like when we all came
here, each running from
something we couldn't name.
you, you couldn't remember
who you were sometimes.
you had seven names, friends
as light as air, friends
i didn't want to see and couldn't
save you from.

the old comforter we
pulled out the closet. we lay it
out like a fleece, over you.
you slept for days, days and
weeks and even months. good
sleep I hoped would wash those
waking night mares away--
your sleeping face wore a small smile

rock away lttle baby in the cradle,
when they first brought
you home i stood by staring
in at your sleeping face--then
never took the time to find
out who you really were inside

No comfort to me when you were
missing. But this comforter-- it's four
inches thick.-red like grandma's chimney
red like the apples she used to bake,
red like love on a faded paper heart
hung in the window. heavy
like those real hugs she used to give
when we'd been gone away too long--

you were gone for too long
when we found you and
brought you home--
we laid that fleece
laid it out over you and
prayed to God for a miracle.

grandma she told me once--
when she was a girl she had a lamb.
a real honest to god lamb. It wasn't
going to make it on its own so
she raised it on milk
from a bottle warmed in the oven.

that lamb she took it in. and
there was nothing i wanted more
than to see you raise up like that
lamb,  like Lazarus, laughing and saying
"got you" i'm fine.

a fine girl on the farm with flashing
brown eyes like yours. hard to think
of grandma, just a girl
who wouldn't take crap from
no one. that little lamb
grew up--it's wool saved each spring
guess who kept the wool,
carded it clean and straight,
and made the soft comforter.

i don't know how often she used
it in that little house with gabled roof.
sent it to me one winter when I was
cold and far away from home--
probably saved my life then too--

i guess i'd like to think that
fabric over time could hold
the weft of a story, hold the love
of a small girl who wanted to
save something lost--

maybe because I'm not a doctor
nor ever could be. I'm just a maker
of small cloths. someone who wants
to share comfort--
someone who was lost but is
slowly being reshaped day by
day in this safe place
with a warm kitchen
where you get up and make
coffee and go study
calculus and the fabled
path of warm suns.

as I fold
up the comforter and put it
away for the summer
I smell rain coming


  1. This created so many images and emotions for me. I liked how it took me outside the house and then back indoors, making the place itself more real because it has a place (or places) at home. It also made me reflect on the work your grandmother put into creating and caring for that comforter.

    1. wow. thank you. Yes this one is about real places, not imagined ones. I'm so glad you could picture it. What do you like to write or make?


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