Winter 2004

Jill Bialosky


Jill Bialosky

Jill Bialosky is the author of two collections of poetry, The End of Desire (Knopf, 1998) and Subterranean (Knopf, 2001) and a novel, House Under Snow (Harcourt, 2002). Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, O Magazine, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and Poetry, among other publications.

The Poet Contemplates the Fate of Her Calling  

Her face lighted to sounds
(of the lyric), tears burned her eyes
as she gazed at the painted image
of Orpheus losing Eurydice
to the underworld—the longing
etched across her face.
She was infatuated
with heroes—Vronksy, Odysseus, Mr. Rochester—
whose lives embed in her consciousness
like members of her family.
She worked in her study by day,
partook of good food, wine, the company
of her compatriots, married
and gave birth as mortals are want to do
and at night she entered the kingdom
of her mind where she resurrected
figments from childhood, legends from the past,
and experienced the sudden quakes and vibrations
as the divide between the real
and the invented grew as great
as the crest in a deep and cavernous canyon.
She thought the tender
dinners, the slightly opened window
at the round table to allow in fresh
baby blue air, their private chit chat
sealed off and protected as if underneath
glass inside the insular world of their home,
and the propulsion to follow what enchanted,
through the narrow courtyard,
down the unsafe, spiral stairs
and into the mysterious garden could co-exist
and provide fruits, if she managed to live
with the disturbances, and she continued to travel
further, to seek more forgetting
that she could never turn back,
even for a second to ponder
what she had left behind.



Jill Bialosky: Poetry
Copyright © 2004 The Cortland Review Issue 25The Cortland Review