Joannie Stangeland is the author of In Both Hands and Into the Rumored Spring, from Ravenna Press, plus two chapbooks and a pamphlet of prose poems. Joannie's poetry has also appeared in Prairie Schooner, Cimarron Review, DMQ Review, First Water: Best of Pirene's Fountain, and other journals and anthologies.

September 21, 2016

Joannie Stangeland

Sketch in Blue with Darker Water

I found a feather from a Steller's jay, left it, let it stay on our front stairs. Now the weather opens other rooms, chapel-ceiling fresco cloud encircled. West, the sky looks more like sea, steely tide swelling toward the hills. You worry when my waves of blue come crashing, knock me back hard. I read Maggie Nelson's Bluets, heard another woman sing a small blue thing. To paint the dragon on the Chinese plate the cobalt’s mined, crushed, melted. On some days, blue's the garden blooming past the porch, a path through forget-me-nots, a Parrish dusk plunging into night deeply and translucent blue. Some days, I am ground and sintered, set adrift on the lake's grayer shades lapping into black, where I look down, down, hear you calling from the shore.

"Sketch in Blue with Darker Water" began as an attempt to thread color through a manuscript I've been working on, and it became a poem to my husband about the thread of depression that runs through my days and can distance me from my family. The phrase "small blue thing" refers to Suzanne Vega's song by that name, and the phrase "a Parrish dusk" refers to paintings by Maxfield Parrish. Sintering, used in making cobalt blue pigment, is the process of heating, often with compression, to form a solid mass.

Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
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