Julie Marie Wade
Artist: Rene Magritte
1928, Oil on Canvas, 54 X 80.9 cm
Museum of Modern Art, New York
As a love poem
You are my looking glass, my lachrymatory.
Tears rush out to you like oceans of sky.Cumulus, for comfort: each pillow of possible.
Pupil, a vintage record, still revolves.
Sleep I want to sweep from your eyes.
Dreams spilling forth from a delicate spindle.
These tacit understandings, like syllables mounting a tongue—
Reflex of blink, of swallow.
Or that blindness in love, known best as hallucination:
Empathy dressed down as mannequin inside the old macabre of Macy’s.
To see & believe we are known, in color as in monochrome—
In rods as in cones.
When you are vulnerable, we’ll say retina, meaning sensitive.
When you are witty, we’ll say vitreous for humor.
These tacit understandings, like a loosened lash—
A lost wish released into the cosmos.
When you close them, watch for portraits on the under-lid.
Cool-skinned girls cantering through marshes.
I am your looking glass, your lachrymatory.
“Put thou thy tears in my bottle.”
Julie Marie Wade is the author of two collections of lyric nonfiction, Wishbone: A Memoir in Fractures (Colgate University Press, 2010) and Small Fires (Sarabande Books, 2011), and two collections of poetry, Without (Finishing Line Press, 2010) and Postage Due (White Pine Press, 2013). Most recently, she has received an Al Smith Individual Artist Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council and the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Memoir. Wade lives with her partner, Angie Griffin, and their two cats in the Bluegrass State, where she is a doctoral student and graduate teaching fellow in the Humanities program at the University of Louisville.
“My grandma always said the front porch was the best place to tell stories. When she was growing up in the 1920s, the child of Swedish immigrant parents in a Canadian mining town, word spread around that on summer nights after supper, June Swanson sat out and told stories. Her own eight brothers and sisters and their friends and their friends’ friends would gather on the Swanson porch to listen as my grandmother unraveled her imaginative yarns. But where I grew up, in the 1980s, in a suburb of Seattle overlooking Puget Sound, no one had porches or so much as a stoop to sit on. We had uniform, brick houses with flower pots crowding the front walks, which invariably led all the way up to the door. “Sitting out” wasn’t what people did there; we sat in, watching the sailboats from our living room view. This is not to say that front porches make storytellers or that picture windows make poets, but I sometimes think of the fiction I’d write if I had passed more of my time on porches.”