The Works of Barbara Daniels
Barbara Daniel's book of poems, Rose Fever, was published by WordTech Press in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in The Louisville Review, Karamu, Slab, The Literary Review, and many other journals. She earned an MFA from Vermont College, received two Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and was granted a Dodge Full Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center.
All Poems © Barbara Daniels
for Michael Gibson
Your new pictures teach subtraction,
face not a face, gloved hand,
your method erasure, the same strategy
time has. Already I’m inches shorter.
In the photograph you won’t sell me
you stare at the lens through swim goggles.
You see under water, deep
into eyeholes. Faces return your stare—
fish, barn owl, old woman’s mouth
at a window, her bold right arm.
I gave up muscles contracting near eyes
and corners of lips. When anyone
speaks, I look away, don’t see
what I fear—the authority of sorrow.
You say the job of the old is to think
about ending, stepping out
of the body to a penumbra,
light at the line where darkness
moves into darkness,
winterbourne river, inky sea.
At the Ninth Street Market
Down from rooms over the street
I come walking, trailing beads
and torn scarves, breath so loud
a man stops to listen. Dawn seeps in,
flux of blood to the eye of a trout,
clamor of sales starting around it.
Silver shimmer, bloodshot eye,
fish too old to be bought or sold
though someone poor will buy it.
Among the limes and frayed bok choy
I load my arms with berries and
cheese, all awkward hands,
all mouth. Death when it comes
as it has to the trout will be cold
and complete and surprising.