November 2000

Miriam Levine


Miriam Levine's most recent book is Devotion: A Memoir (University of Georgia Press, l993). She is the author of three collections of poetry and A Guide to Writers' Homes in New England. (Applewood Books, 1989). Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Paris Review, and Kenyon Review. She is the recipient of a 1998-99 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship. Currently she teaches literature and creative writing at Framingham State College in Massachusetts.
Feet    Click to hear in real audio

after "Virgin and Child" (anonimo) 15th century

I think I can see everything—Jesus's
open mouth, Mary's nipples dripping milk.

But the painter hides her feet.
The space behind stone drapery
is like space in studio photographs:
nothing under the table, behind the screen, around the corner,
no heart in the cardboard chest—no light in the painted-on diamond.

I want her feet like dirty succulents close to the ground,
the few dark hairs like the sign for kisses at the end of a letter.

The sole swells and pushes off, the heel lifts,
hard heel that must always return.
The arch is netted with blue veins so far from the heart
they forget about home, and the heart forgets
until her toes curl their soft blades into the dirt.



Miriam Levine: Poetry
Copyright 2000 The Cortland Review Issue 14The Cortland Review