Poem by Catherine Tufariello

Six months ago, it made her cry.
Furious, looking just at shape,
She tried to force a swatch of sky
Into the chestnut stallion’s nape,

But now she sees the picture too.
She chooses, studies, turns a piece,
Cajoling out of broken blue
High mare’s-tail clouds and wheeling geese,

And from this mottled brown infers
The muzzle of the piebald foal.
Intractable particulars
Allude to their imagined whole,

A world to which she palms the key.
Her guesses are no longer blind
But purposeful—her strategy,
Patience and insight intertwined.

The red-roofed farmhouse and the rows
Of corn are conjured, hills condense,
And inch by inch, the meadow sows
Itself beneath the weathered fence.

The final piece is placed and locks:
Between the black mare’s hooves, a plume
Of purple flowers—asters? phlox?—
And sprays of scarlet paintbrush bloom.


American Arts Quarterly, Fall 2008, Volume 25, Number 4