"Father hatches in the upsweep flame of her reddish blond, the restraint of her sober hair band"

More Perihelion:

Issue 6: No More Tears

Bob Sward's Writer's Friendship Series

Book Reviews

Need to Know



A quick list to poets featured in this issue:

Mary Moore

Kate Benedict

James Walton Fox

Jane Blue

Tom Goff

Kate Lutzner

Heather Burns

Maria Melendez

Karen Alkalay-Gut

Laverne Frith

Laura Ann Walton

Roger Pfingston

Scott Odom


Bei Dao

Tom Goff

A Portrait Study by Rubens

Clara Serena, the Flemish masterís 
young innocent, gazes straight
at unknowns.  Yet her eyes, two 
end-tapered, plump little lemons,
open their lids along different arcs:
twin Claras, each one tempted 
after her own amusement. 

Fatherís trying to hold 
an afternoon shadow pressed 
to the cheek of his daughterís 
goblet face. She sniffs oil on canvas
ópart tar, part cheese, part kelp 
smell. But obliges, bearing up 

her broad collar.  Starched 
scratchy to her neck, it fans big 
like a peacock tail bleached white. 
Itís so hard (Father hatches in 
the upsweep flame of her reddish 
blond, the restraint of her sober 
hair band) to sit still.  Her love 

and fear of Papá worries her 
like a bitten thumb.  Yet she works 
with her whole forehead 
to think her way out 
the high open window (that 
four-corner glint in her eyes). 

Down below her, dirty boys 
kick a pigís bladder 
along the cobblestones of Antwerp. 
Closer, less scary, is the dollsí 
playhouse Fatherís built her, safe 
amid ornamental garden mazes. 

She longs after her painted-ivory 
playmates: their handclasp size, 
their rooms, cross-sectioned just so 
around them. So soon a model, 

is Clara Serena predisposed to fill 
roles the matchbox bedchambers 
and thumbback chairs presume 
only for her figurines? Will she assume 
her little maidsí chesspiece preciousness? 
Their dressed-up immobility?