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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
The little one listens but never reveals
What she knows. By day she controls the light
That filters across the roofs, through
Trees, on furrows of plaintive faces.
She wakes up alone and unlocks
Cabinets of light, allots the portions
Strictly, patiently hears requests
For additional rays. What a job.
She has to
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,
poem
Locked in the hothouse—my steamy, salt-air
Neighborhood crayoned with hibiscus, each blossom’s
Red stalk aiming its pollen-beaded headdress
Toward the sun—all of us knew which of our fellow
Alpha classmates had become pregnant, though no
Impromptu blooms would blaze to meet the light.
On my last Miami visit, my