christine deavel









I must leave the door open

in case she wants to come see me.


I leave the door open

should she want to find me.


If I kept it closed

the wooden door would be

a vertical pond

she would float along


she a slow vapor would float along


What is standing up or lying down

to her? The body suffers each

the same.


But I believe she is not suffering.


She is just intimately parallel

to floor or roof or lawn or shop window

or my body. She is hydrophilic,

lithophilic, sanguiphilic, spiraphilic,

ossophilic, terraphilic, lignaphilic,

her body as if it were a mass of

charged metal filings.


She is near but cannot enter again.







In the corner of the room there is a gesture.


Just a gesture. In every room, in the right-most corner.


From the right-most corner of my eye, in the living room

or bathroom, bedroom, hallway, I see her-gesture.


Just the gesture of the arm in the navy long-sleeved dress

(just the sleeve, cuffed, buttoned in mother-of-pearl).


The hand will rise or swing out for . . .

or fall.


In all the rooms I enter. As I enter, there is her-gesture,

in the right-most corner. Even after I’ve settled and napped

or read or talked long about an ill.


She is by her ornamental table, her hip at the carved edge.


In every room in the right-most corner is the round wood table

and her hip at its edge.


Just the arm and the hip.


Just the gesture.


Just the table, the arm, and the hip.


And the gesture

like breath, like breathing.







The fingernails are the portals.


The fingernails the eyes,

the fingernails the wood



The fingernail will show the grain.


The fingernails                                         the true wood




The ridged thumbnail was coated with clear polish


as if it were                          a little table


      a lovely rosewood table


where the grain

       has been revealed.



    Not for sitting at

    and sometimes for placement


for the grain revealed


       primarily that:


Here was the true wood revealed.








Where there was hardship


between the mother and the mother’s mother


there was the collection

of pitchers, also

that they both might stand and admire,

or touch and turn,


in their dresses

next to each other


and the eyes, the moist eyes,


   watched the beauty of the pitchers

  on the dark wood ledge

that ran along the windows.


Afternoon of light through the swirled or pebbled glass

made viscous with color.


   The watching of the pitchers:


a song.



They sang together

he watching of the pitchers.



    sweet lyric, sweet round, sweet lyric, sweet round






The wooden gloves and the hat of wood, too.


The wooden camisole and half-slip:


these in the old oiled dresser.


In the shadowy end of the cedar-lined closet:


        the beautiful            gleaming


   wood dress.


Who waited once, and who is waiting now,

       to wear them.


Once, they say, there was a wooden purse

and in it a little wood book

and a whole ring of wooden keys.


True or not,


among us all each

      felt the loss,

among us all each

      feels the loss.






At some point,      perhaps,     there should not be


on the wood.


Just because there is only water

     with a bit of garlic

     and ginger


    there is soup.


But at some point perhaps, when the wood


  has been transformed,

and it is in the home, water should be

kept       from       it.


Ho ho! The wooden spoon!


What a lovely twist or joke or divinity!


In the soup pot, the wood is a tree again


      and finds its water,

and its little bit

      of sustenance

from the garlic and ginger.


O the wooden spoon is a tree again



who can keep from crying.