Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Women's History Month: Sarah Maclay's "The Four Marys" and "Nude With Violin in the Rain"

The Four Marys

Giotto sends them off in a purple limousine, one driving. Under the iron clouds of a barren Nevada, thunder lights their way. Skeptical, they look at the map (oddly glowing on one side, creases crossing the US of A, long folded), the Van Eyck in the back seat casting a glance, askance, at her reflection in the rearview, all of them looking simply for annunciation—not the same as looking for men, not exactly—and it’s not on the map, but maybe they don’t yet know the name of the destination, and anyway, it’s a long drive—this rainless distance, miles of dry, electric air, their loose veils adrift in the breeze created by movement, as any kind of movement finally loosens the sticky pastiche of what covers us, and the moment of our apocalypse can begin.

© 2019 Sarah Maclay

Nude With Violin In Rain

To make the wood sing, and its hollow, to pluck that one sound from the body, to place it against the thin rail of black wood, holding it close to the throat, letting it go, while the other hand finds it in horsehair and bow, oblivious to all the water beating the forehead, the shoulders, the back of the neck, the breasts the elbows the shins the whole body, letting that cold water hit like nails like little tacks in the blur of bad weather, the sound dripping into the sidewalk; to let the cry come up through the fingers, the echo drowned, to play anyway, “play”—naked, in public, and let the voice rise in the strings, in the instrument’s ribs, its threaded ribs—that sound, the sound you must make now or lie—must you, must you be plaster, be stone?

© 2019 Sarah Maclay

Note: “The Four Marys” first appeared in The Journal. “Nude With Violin In Rain” first appeared in The Parthenon West Review. Both are collected in Maclay's second full-length, The White Bride (University of Tampa Press, 2008).

Bio: Sarah Maclay’s most recent release is The “She” Series: A Venice Correspondence, a braided collaboration with Holaday Mason (What Books Press, 2016). Earlier works include Music for the Black Room (2011), The White Bride (2008), Whore (2004, Tampa Review Prize for Poetry), all from U of Tampa Press, and three chapbooks.  The recipient of a City of LA Master Artist Fellowship, a Yaddo residency, and a Pushcart Special Mention, her poems and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Blackbird, FIELD, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, and The Writers Chronicle, among other spots, and she’s long served as Book Review Editor of Poetry International. Her work is anthologized in The Best American Erotic Poetry: From 1800 to the Present (Scribner, 2008), Poems Dead and Undead (Knopf, 2014), They Said:  A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Creative Writing (Black Lawrence Press, 2018) and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing and literature at LMU.

1 comment:

  1. This is a voice to come back to again and again. I love Sarah's work.