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Lacemakers

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Santa Maria Assunta, Torcello

Mater dolorosa, here I am hungry
And ill-disposed on worn flags at your feet.
Through high windows wintry sun seeps in
And floods the six-tiered polychrome Apocalypse,
This Sunday's text in comic strip.

That's my son over by the door, impatient
To be off somewhere. Other boys pose
On attila's Throne while their fathers snap pictures
And mothers price lace - clotheslines of lace
Strung from trucks selling pizzas.

Around the lagoon, your fields have grown wild;
Vines redden on half-fallen fences
That no longer keep the allotments apart.
On some islands the women make lace, punti in aria - stitches in air -
Materializing the spaces between things.
Beverley Bie, "Lacemakers" from Against Gravity (Worple Press, England, 2005). Published by permission of the author.
Source: Against Gravity (Poetry Foundation, 2005)

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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Lacemakers

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  • Poet and translator Beverley Bie Brahic was born in Canada and now lives in Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poetry collection White Sheets (CB editions, 2012) was a finalist for the Forward Prize. Her work has appeared in Field, Literary Imagination, Notre Dame Review, the Southern Review, the Times Literary Supplement, and elsewhere.

    Beverley Bie Brahic’s translations include Guillaume Apollinaire: The Little Auto (CB editions, 2012); Francis Ponge: Unfinished Ode to Mud (CB editions, 2009), a finalist for the Popescu Prize for Poetry in Translation; Julia Kristeva: This Incredible Need to Believe (Columbia University Press, 2009), a finalist for the French American Foundation Translation Prize; Jacques Derrida’s Geneses, Genealogies, Genres, and Genius (Columbia UP, 2006); and several works of Hélène Cixous, including Twists and Turns in the Heart’s Antarctic (Polity, 2011), Hyperdream (Polity, 2009), and Portrait of Jacques Derrida as a Young Jewish Saint (Columbia UP, 2005).

    Brahic has been awarded a Canada Council for the Arts Writing Grant.
     

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