one by one

linked verse by anne mckay and Michael Dylan Welch

First published in Frogpond 16:2, Fall–Winter 1993, page 38. Originally written from early January 1992 to early April of 1993.

at the mission clinic the woman’s winter fingers winding gauze anne

beneath the table scraps left by the dog Michael

eyes ghostgreen briefly in the streetlamp’s light anne

opening the back door the wind Michael

again that person from porlock breaking my silence anne

moonlight shaping the statue Michael

a distant sax the artist’s brush pinched to a point Michael

secretly she strokes her sables anne

breath held undoing the buttons one by one Michael

his face forgotten now but not the touch anne

tossed out a bronzed baby shoe with unread news Michael

they wait when they should turn to journeys anne

gone with the wind the red toupee Michael

clown tripping perfectly anne

high school reunion the valedictorian’s straight teeth Michael

vinny and I swapping sweet lies anne

home from the flea market flowers in a rusted bucket Michael

scratchandwin her fifth ticket today anne

rhythm of the night sulky racers almost a mantra anne

grain by grain the sand mandala Michael

this white this toosoon snow a bitter harvest anne

slow-moving train between rippling fields Michael

softly and low ‘going home going home i am going home’ anne

rows of crosses a silver bugle Michael

flaming the coldcoloured window paper poppies anne

spinning prism the newborn’s waving hand Michael

northward seven swans to the place of the long rainbow anne

the shiny eyes of a stuffed timberwolf Michael

beneath the greenbay tree these curious prints anne

going-out-of-business sign freshly painted Michael

pinned to the back wall the framing shop’s first dollar Michael

with his butterfly collection in winter waiting anne

all day the ice-fisherman on a yellow lawn chair Michael

out of the lemon grove the bees’ first flight anne

spring thunder the red and white flag folded on the mantel Michael

footsteps fade into morning anne