Mixed Media

by Joannie Stangeland

In the market, the woman twirling swirls
her black umbrella—black jacket, dark skin spinning
this moment and it is not raining.

The harbor sky’s colored cement,
every other crayon in the box gone,

Fifty-odd years couldn’t root me (tapped
like a philodendron in some sun room, blue tiles
and always a bowl of oranges and almonds).

I tried the lozenges, ironed my blood
as neat as a pillowcase, on good days.

I gave away then to find now, fractured—
read the story again, all memories
a fabrication (I fumble for new words, references—

say eye and mean shading, chapter
for light’s angles calculated in years times distance).

Where are the footnotes, the abstract,
the catalogue’s glossy promises?
“Pastel.” “Tempera on cardboard.”

No bell, but a siren. No lighthouse,
but this life. If I approached,

it was fleeting, a turn—the faces changed,
perspective closer to the vanishing point.

Joannie Stangeland’s book Into the Rumored Spring was published last fall by Ravenna Press. She’s also the author of two chapbooks, and her poems have appeared in Crab Creek Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain, and other publications. Joannie serves as poetry editor for the online journal The Smoking Poet.