Field Dress Portal
—Lauren Woods, Field Dress, 7′ x 6′ oil on linen
a yellow orb shifts against the shock of dark vertical bark, her back split diagonal, flayed & a bright fleshysuspension in the copse of trees, her hooves scrape packed dirt, legs sway like she’s dancing on hindquarters & I couldtake her body inside me, like the medicine I need, or wrap her skinned hide, congealed blood flaking, a cloak against the comingnight & I’d wear her ears, pin her white-warning-tail to my backside as regalia for all the deer-dead, but the painting only approachesher in 2-d—a portal of slim brushstrokes, paint upon paint, so I step into the field, from the left, outside the frame, push through tallburnished grasses, bending slightly, my feet crush crickets, trample late blooming goldenrod & I let the heat of the day leak outof the air like a balloon popped & swirling, so I can become Field. Dress. Portal. What’s the worst possible thing to ask of yourself? Maybe believingin whatever makes demands on your own inner life, like how love is supposed to save even the most hardened ones. Only this dead doe’shead bows & whistles to the others, come find me—quick, like light, or like all the seedpods’ sudden dispersal, their unrealized progeny floataway without a care for the end result.
Copyright © 2020 by Sarah Audsley
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Sarah Audsley, an adoptee born in South Korea and raised in rural Vermont, has received support for her work from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and residencies from the Vermont Studio Center and the Banff Centre. Her manuscript-in-progress received a 2021 Creation Grant from the Vermont Arts Council. She lives in Johnson, VT where she works for the Vermont Studio Center and Sundog Poetry Center. She holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers.
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