Chain Link Fence by Patti White
A catastrophic post-pastoral, nightmared and sung by a tornadic imagination. Chain Link Fence offers "plot" as "a series of shapes, a choreography." And here the dream replaces our dreamer, "an eggshell of / air around the world, a crust of salt, / the sphere of her eye quivering, un- / able to take it all in." White's linkage of luminescent image trades in visions rather than narratives. -- Peter Streckfus
Cover art: photograph, "Metal Fence," isaravut/shutterstock.com
For Lucy, a plot is a series of shapes, a choreography,
motion in a field of high grass, wild water in a creek,
a bunker on the beach a chain link fence half buried
in sand an open weave sweater the daughter in the
breezeway clutching cardboard spattered in red and
yellow the woman with her feet under the faucet
From here (and where?)
she can see all the stars in space and
the coastline, erasable, like reality,
something so fragile, an eggshell of
air around the world, a crust of salt,
the sphere of her eye quivering, un-
able to take it all in.
A swarm of bees, beating in her chest, she feels their wings,
a buzz in her heart, a startling on the edge of consciousness,
like that twist at the top of the wire, that shivering tornado of
metal, the light breaking on rough edges, scattering like bees
rising from a field of flowers, spiraling into the air.
Lucy herself, fingers twisted in the wire of the fence.