Flour and Ash

By Chana Bloch Chana Bloch
“Make flour into dough,” she answers,
“and fire will turn it into food.
Ash is the final abstraction of matter.
You can just brush it away.”
 
She tacks a sheet of paper to the wall,
dips her hand in a palette of flour and ash,
applies the fine soft powders with a fingertip,
highlighting in chalk and graphite,
blending, blurring with her thumb.
Today she is working in seven shades of gray.
 
Outside the door, day lilies
in the high flush of summer-
about-to-be-fall. Her garden burns
red and yellow in the dry August air
and is not consumed.
 
Inside, on the studio wall, a heavy
particulate smoke
thickens and rises. Footsteps grime the snow.
The about-to-be-dead line up on the ramp
with their boxy suitcases,
ashen shoes.
 
When I get too close she yanks me back.
She hovers over her creation
though she too has a mind
to brush against that world
and wipe it out.

Chana Bloch, "Flour and Ash" from Blood Honey. Copyright © 2009 by Chana Bloch.  Reprinted by permission of Autumn House Press. www.autumnhouse.org

Source: Blood Honey (Autumn House Press, 2009)

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Poet Chana Bloch

Subjects Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

 Chana  Bloch

Biography

Chana Bloch is the author of four books of poems: The Secrets of the Tribe, The Past Keeps Changing, Mrs. Dumpty, and Blood Honey. She is co-translator of the biblical Song of Songs as well as contemporary Israeli poetry—most recently The Selected Poetry of Yehuda Amichai and his Open Closed Open, and Hovering at a Low Altitude: The Collected Poetry of Dahlia Ravikovitch. Among her awards are the Poetry Society of America's Di . . .

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SUBJECT Living, Time & Brevity, Arts & Sciences, Painting & Sculpture, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, War & Conflict

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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