For Example, Saints and the Shadows of Trees

by Eva Heisler

Today she wears an ex-lover’s fleece. Tomorrow she will wear an ex-lover’s fleece.

Today she forgets to eat. Tomorrow she will forget to eat.

Because she sits as if dictionaries are balanced on her head,

she takes the train to Brussels in search of Flemish primitives.

If the list she pencils between Trier and Luxembourg were used to wipe her mouth.

If the apple she peels were impaled on a pencil and flung out the window.

If the Earl Grey she sips between Luxembourg and Brussels were used to dye a page in her notebook.

Gumboots squeak among the Old Master reports of sacred time. An eye pools

like liquid silk. A finger bookmarks prayer. Copper

kettle on hook—surrogate halo. As if hearth, as if linen.

She studies the habits of drapery, and a mouth mishappen with news. Craquelure

splinters flushed skin—she cannot not see the centuries of damp

scaling a grieving face. The brittle, fissured surface

decoupling from oak—

Eva Heisler

Eva Heisler has published two books of poetry: Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic (Kore Press, 2013) and Drawing Water (Noctuary Press, 2013, and excerpted in BOMB). Honors include the Poetry Society of America's Emily Dickinson Award, fellowships at MacDowell and Millay Arts, and, most recently, the 2021 Poetry International Prize.