When I see woodcuts, my skin recognizes
the tacky, reluctant belief
that grooves in soft pulp
once drank eagerly,
by a blistering grip on the knife.
Some ink as deep as aged wine:
wax and smashed berries
paint somebody’s solitude. Umbilical
transfer, those bumps
of translucence, the paper’s blind mouths.
When I see woodcuts
an oak door dies, sighs
in its jambs; I see a sky that is
of spring lambs and tincture
of gold spelling capital C
over chateaux and convents
culverts and cottages; corridors,
torches stuck into iron sconces. Then earth
moves and C bleeds and
winter with candlelit skulls. Or a cloud
is a moth
that is eating
away. This is how, the old printmakers say,
we hold on:
with this angular texture and trace,
with these broadsides that take on
the weight of
the bodies that made them.
I’ll never be able to offer myself
like a tray, not to lovers or children
or God. Not that way.