#131 The Agnes Martins at the Harwood Museum by Lauren Camp

She draws the lines across her canvas, lead so faint on white,
as she draws the curtains down each night, organized and quiet.

Each night she draws the water for her bath, hot mixed carefully
with cool, and sinks her aging body in, bone to flesh to mind.

She draws courage from the brilliant hope of space and energy,
and layers it in lines she draws around herself, compassion.

She draws each day from 9 to noon, an austere attraction
to the almost not there. The line holds scarcity and excess.

She draws her penciled marks. She draws a crate to ship her work,
a simple cube of native pine, a box to hold the world.

With each straight line she draws, she wavers just a bit, a breath,
her hand shaking with the discipline of drawing what we need.

She draws what I so long had missed, the divine queue of patience
and of solitude. And as you sit among her work,

you’ll draw a breath in prayer for the mindfulness she drew.
The miracle of vacancy fills the room with our ambition.

* first published in The Magazine, April 2005

Lauren Camp’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Muzzle and you are here. The author of the poetry collection, This Business of Wisdom (West End Press), Lauren also guest edited sections for World Literature Today and Malpaís Review. She blogs at Which Silk Shirt (www.laurencamp.com)


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