Back to Issue Thirty-Two

Milkweed, Lee Krasner, 1955

oil and collage on canvas, 72 3/8 inches x 57 ¾ inches


Runoff of rain before day breaks, clear and cool.
You shake off the tender ache –

eyewitness so long to rampage. The sound a plate
doesn’t make, flying. Then, heraldic music of glass

smashed. Cunt, he calls you. Jew Bitch. The sick
and the stench. Terrors after and his impotent tears.

Don’t look at me, Pollock begs, bleats. So, you don’t.
You have your own house now –

little box in the yard –
but it will hold all your ambitions. This one

nearly seven feet. I sense you reaching up,
up. The carbon black paper torn and floating. Pale

painted leaves, fingers emerging. Suspended
across the surface of the grid you laid in years ago.

That was then:
locked in. Now this wind. Your first

deep breath in years. (Seed plume after bloom,
the milkweed bleeds to heal.)

Who will make the most noise now,
Lee Krasner?



Image Surfacing, Lee Krasner, 1945-46

oil on linen, 27 x 21 ½ inches


You decamp to Springs to escape the rubble. Wars
get spent, but they’re never over. The good house

leans, inviting. Something shifts, opens, like the once-
stuck barn door. Slides, finally, and keens

like the sharpening of a blade. The one you’ll use
to spread scarlet and oyster. Gray gives way to teal

and ochre. You plant bulbs. Pollock pummels a wall down.
Always the hunger for something wilder. The rage

dissipates, but soon regroups. Fractal squint that warns
of the coming rupture. And yes, Lee Krasner,

he’ll soon again be smithereened.
But in the meantime, such a peace these kismets

give. Reward for the patient eye. The one
that gazes back at you in umber.



Lisa Beech Hartz directs Seven Cities Writers Project, which brings cost-free writing workshops to underserved communities. She currently guides workshops in a city jail and an LGBT community center. Her ekphrastic collection, The Goldfish Window, was published by Grayson Books in 2018.

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