Hilred Crill
When I saw you it was night. I remember
going to see Rembrandt—no, it wasn’t night
but we spoke inside your twice averted words,

where people crowded my thinking, the names,
the colors drained out of them like the living tissue
of blood. Their bodies, in warehouses, attics,

sheds, sit on steps, pose in corners, prone
against the edges. Elaborate frames measured
empty places on the brocade wall where two Rembrandts

were stolen years ago. We stared at the memory of seeing,
our eyes drawn to light. The Self-Portrait
the thieves left—you couldn’t take

your eyes from his, unbreakable link, how we see
people move through their lives. What our minds
do with light and full dark: his face, suffused

with the flush of mourning, seemed to radiate on its own.
I see your face, a single self-portrait you carry,
your eye’s arc, your forehead, a perfect curve

into roundness, bright on a background that drowns
in shadow but keeps some detail. I can’t see your face
is luminous unless everything around it is obscured.


    Hilred Crill
She persuades herself that talking will find him.
Everything she says will be there, already in him.

As he listens, she watches a billion lamps gleam
in ravines of his brain. He whispers an answer,

sh, no other sound. Not th that ends breath,
next to nothing. But sh, loudest noise
from the softest range. She feels air’s friction.

Head On A Lap

    Hilred Crill
Widths and distances, he says in his sleep,
where people gesture themselves to cramped poses.

They forget their bodies into someone
with the same eye or stooped back. They slip

into a dark booth at the diner, one head turned
toward the exit sign. A woman’s moving mouth

over the general din, the vibrating walls,
the back door open on an alley

where the cook in a white apron
leans against a brick wall, smokes a cigarette.

His breath drives the low rolling rattles
into answers that return by ear.

Hanging inside and just outside him,
his own blurted sound.

Hilred Crill teaches in the Creative Arts in Learning program at Lesley College and as an artist in the schools at the New Hampshire Council for the Arts. Her poems have appeared in the Colorado Review, Poetry, and elsewhere.


In Posse: Potentially, might be ...