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 powder,
the farmland stiff and carefully maintained.
Sometimes they spin one direction,
then back again. How the coyotes howl.
How the people learn to love, regardless.
The majesty of their own towering hearts.
The mountains, which they agree are beautiful.
And the turquoise – never has there been
such a color, breaking into precious
and semi-precious stones. They build houses
from them, grand places of worship,
and there is much to worship. Look up,
for instance. Six suns. The wonder of it.
First one, then the next, eclipsing
the possibility that their world hangs by a thread.
Added: Friday, January 16, 2015 / Used with permission.
Karen Skolfield’s book Battle Dress (W.W. Norton, 2019) won the Barnard Women Poets Prize and her book Frost in the Low Areas (Zone 3 Press, 2013) won the PEN New England Award in poetry. She is the winner of the 2016 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in poetry from The Missouri Review and has received additional awards and fellowships from the Poetry Society of America, New England Public Radio, Massachusetts Cultural Council, Split This Rock, and elsewhere. Skolfield is a U.S. Army veteran and teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.