June 26, 2024

Witch Ball, 1935/1942, by Paul Ward, National Gallery of Art. 
Two Poems by Jameson Fitzpatrick

Turning Around (with Angels); or, Contested Lilith

I got sick of having sides:
debated like a mirror
or a god’s first draft in dirt,
a symbolon—cleft—or a hero
with as many turns as a poem
as long as his long way home. 

It so happens that

I had a dream and, in it, a sex
—that was new—
and I said to it (the dream):
Imagine how tired we are.
Ten more minutes.

And it said: This is more
of a comment than a question—
And I said: Oh no, sir—
And he: All things must pass in the night.

So I have gone out, an ersatz witch,
to prove otherwise, with my back-up singers
the angels behind me.
They are ugly, and better than I am

with as many
eyes faces limbs wings
as they please,
great wheels for breaking:

Goodbye, horses!
I’m over you!

Slinking velvet across rooftops,
I’m all one skin like a catsuit.
And into the blue I rise
no less a woman than
Christ was a crossmaker.

Mirror after Merrill
I cannot teach you how to love
Hester, Hester. I’m sorry.
Whatever you think you might scry in me
you know already: you are less beautiful
than Annabel. Yes,
even when you tie your hair with a ribbon
like hers. Especially then.
Perhaps one day this will change:
fortunes do all the time, and styles.
But there will always be another Annabel;
even Annabel has an Annabel.
The fine young man riding by on horseback
is on his way to her now.

Jameson Fitzpatrick is the author of Pricks in the Tapestry (Birds, LLC, 2020). The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts/New York State Council on the Arts, she teaches first-year writing at New York University.