Wendy Vardaman


But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath claw'd me in his clutch.
     —Hamlet, Act V, Scene 1

Becomes a crystal knot
from which all motion's locked,
a lock to keep flood
water's out. Becomes a lot
on which loose soil's
been tamped and packed,
its lattices aligned,
all entrance blocked.
Becomes his wife
a body shocked to salt
and shoulder tossed.
Becomes a bullet caught
between the teeth—hot lead
shot dropped inside the mouth.
Becomes a rock clot
lost & sought beneath the skin:
taut not of every unthought
thought. A plot of overwrought
that shrinks and dries
but will not rot. Ought clock
whose tock taught want
and loss and not. Fraught
knock of need on bone,
of bleed on stone—
retrieve, receed—
of stop, of stopped.

Wendy Vardaman is the author of Obstructed View and co-editor of Echolocations, Poets Map Madison, Cowfeather Press, 2013, and Verse Wisconsin. She is Poet Laureate of Madison (2012-2015).

Issue 2