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About this poet

Michele Wolf was raised in South Florida. She received a BS in public communication from Boston University and an MS in journalism from Columbia University. She is the author of Immersion (The Word Works, 2011) and Conversations During Sleep (Anhinga Press, 1998), winner of the 1997 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Wolf has received fellowships from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Maryland; the Edward F. Albee Foundation; and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others. She teaches at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

Astigmatism

When I held smooth the satin to zip
Up your wedding dress, frosted with flounces 
And pearl-beaded filigree, a rococo
Confection more sugary than the cake,
And watched as you swiveled slowly to face
Me—all floaty notes, pure flute—so still
As I situated the baby’s breath and the veil,
How could I have told you, knowing
You’d learn it soon enough, my perfect doll,
How fuzzy the world is, how the clearest
Picture, frill-tipped gladioli in primary
Colors, can dissolve into darkness, how
The eye can fool you, presenting a straight
Or diagonal path when the earth is curved.

“It can be corrected,” I tell you, a half-truth,
When you call me to say you can no longer
Focus, nothing is sharp. And I can hear
How the light is bent in your voice, the shadows
Behind what you say, while in my mind’s
Eye you stare at me, blinking, a week old,
The day you were placed in my arms,
Able to distinguish little but two black
Moons, my eyes dancing in the fog.
That this was the most exquisite 
Instance of my childhood never changes.
Nor does the decade between us
Or the way you looked up at my face
After racing out the front door
To greet me eight years later, almost
Toppling me over, ringing my waist.
Two sisters, so nearsighted
That upon my return to you, before
I resumed my groping tromp 
Through the world, you held me like a reference
Point, a place you will always find,
The sheen of your eyes announcing 
My bearings as much as your clear
Shout of my name, as your words: “You’re here.” 

Copyright © 1992 Michele Wolf. This poem originally appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Spring 1992, and also appeared in Conversations During Sleep (Anhinga Press, 1998) by Michele Wolf. Used with permission of the author. 

Copyright © 1992 Michele Wolf. This poem originally appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Spring 1992, and also appeared in Conversations During Sleep (Anhinga Press, 1998) by Michele Wolf. Used with permission of the author. 

Michele Wolf

Michele Wolf

Michele Wolf is the author of Immersion (The Word Works, 2011). She teaches at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Maryland.

by this poet

poem
She recognizes its crest in the way he looks at her.
The wave is as vast as the roiling mass in the Japanese
Print they had paused in front of at the museum,
Capped with ringlets of foam, all surging sinew.
That little village along the shore would be
Totally lost. There is no escaping this.
The wave is flooding
poem
It flares up at sunrise, a blush in a bramble
Tumbling out of its bed by the city pavement—a single
Rose, coral heat, at the end of the season.			
And you are drawn to it, to its scent, its silky
Layers, to its core. It gathers you into its 
Body until you lose your balance, all you can see	
Is a petaled grid, an
poem
As I was guided by the director through the thick space
Of these rooms, worn sparrow brown, and strode
With the August sun on my shoulders across this particular
Acre of grass, nobody had told me this was the place
Where you had summered as a boy. I have weathered
My fourth decade, older now than you were 
When