DE FEM (THE FIVE)
after Hilma af Klint’s The Ten Largest, Group IV, No. 7, Adulthood, 1907, tempera on paper mounted on canvas
Practice your drawings. They are pictures of drenching waves of ether which
await you one day when your ears and eyes can apprehend a higher summons.
— De Fem, received via psychograph, Feb. 21, 1905
we might have gone blind
furiously we listened we began
to listen to the listening
then the yellow bloomed
a beautiful atomic bomb
a three-part Venn diagram
the Trinity identified and dressed
in ballooning yellow blouses
u = the spiritual forces of life
u = everything in the world of spirit, truth, freedom, tranquility,
the reality of light, sacred desire, rebirth, woman
in the dusk we would call to each other’s
disembodied voices we were girls
under a full moon the wolf moon of cold January
our breath a spirit just beyond our lips
like a lover we would one day take in
an inhale, a consuming.
u = the bond between the god within us and the soul
w = to fight cunning and vanity
w = everything that could be called a burden
woman: as a girl I prayed to God
I would never get a period.
w = unease, life’s material struggle and battle
What are we without our bodies?
Listen to the shift
from rain to snow,
from wood to ash.
The change from pale grasses
to laced jewels,
from the dim pink sky
to something remembered.
Listen for the lift of robins
to spread their small fires
up and into the hackberry.
Happy with nothing
and with everything. Envious
of the dark coolness of the lake
in my childhood backyard, bed littered
with tightly closed paper pondshells
easily pried open with a small knife
which could split two cupped palms
ready to receive a spirit,
and reveal the flesh inside
and of course, the pearly iridescent nacre,
the lake a backdrop for this violence,
this beauty. Primordial pond. Beyond
the cattails and duckweed, moccasins
thicker than leather belts nested, spawned
live-born babies, black lines of fear and death
and life, looped like cursive handwriting
as if they had been told what it was
I was listening for in my fistfuls
of day. This woman, a shadow moving
above the southern summer lake, digging
for something to devour.