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About this poet

Karen Skolfield is the author of Frost in the Low Areas (Zone 3 Press, 2013), winner of the 2014 PEN/New England Award in poetry. She teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Lessons from the Statuary

The closer to the torso, the better.
Endangered: fingers in a point,

nosetips, every blooded sword,
the knife’s ricasso, the cupid’s bow of lips,

a Roman nose, the dog’s upturned gaze,
the placid expression, the fierce.

Toes hidden beneath sandals fare better:
Every mother knows this.

Somewhere, a breeze so strong
it stirs the stone robe’s folds.

Imperial porphyry: Understand
that of the most beautiful things, there is less.

Even the music of the lyre broken away.
Don’t touch goes without saying.

The gaze of the guard is never returned.
Out in the courtyard, another wedding ends.

A boy shies from a hand to the shoulder
but will pose by the lion mauling the horse.

Once there were angel wings,
a baby held aloft. If halos, what halos.

A statue may give up a head so the rest survives.
Even the satyrs must have a rest.

Copyright © 2018 Karen Skolfield. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2018 Karen Skolfield. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.

Karen Skolfield

Karen Skolfield is the author of Frost in the Low Areas (Zone 3 Press, 2013), winner of the 2014 PEN/New England Award in poetry. She teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

by this poet

poem

It's right next to a Polariod booth.
The instructions say the needles are small
and barely felt. The pictures, it explains,
have nudity, but no gratuitous nudity.
Special imaging equipment considers
the color value of your own skin
and calibrates your reactions
to words shouted in

poem
I spend a long time considering pillowcases.
Which pillowcase does my head want for rest? 
A lace edge so that the cheek does not grow bored? 
 
All
poem

Balloon, then papier mâché.
Gray paint, blue and turquoise, green,
a clouded world with fishing line attached
to an old light, original to the house, faux brass
chipping, discolored, an ugly thing. What must
the people of this planet think, the ground
knobby and dry, the oceans blue