"The Printshop"
by Caroline Clarke

Arthur Ginsberg

The Printshop

In the printshop beneath the arcade
treasures are measured in paper and ink.
I let each image take me to the place
of its conception, the artistís soul merged
in a skeletal fish or hovering with
a ruby hummingbird deep in orchid nectar.

There is sanctity for life on each yellowed page,
attention to detail that hallows the eye.
Gold leaf appliqué, hidden under paint
imparts the dazzle to a hummingbirdís throat.
A chambered nautilus floats on parchment,
its composition geometric rapture.

I choose sea creatures for you,
two stingrays hooked on a barnacled post.
So quickly, blue fades to grey
when the flesh is casually squandered.
And light in the sea goes out
as the paint on the paper fades.

Perhaps this obsession with image
is about how you are gone.
When I exit the arcade,
foetal men curled up in corners
remind me of my luck, the way
you press into my chest,

trace the limit of my skin,
makes a print that can never be copied,
like a dying star that leaves a hold
at the end of its unique light.
Where the dust of what has been
is pulled into its infinite heart.

Copyright 1997, Arthur Ginsberg

Arthur Ginsberg is a Seattle neurologist and the author of a volume of poetry titled Walking the Panther (Northwood Press, 1984). His writing has been published in several journals, including Arnazella, Beacon Review, Spindrift, Embers, and Prickly Pear.

Caroline Clarke is a Seattle-based pastel and egg tempera painter. Her paintings have appeared in local and regional galleries and in the homes and businesses of people for whom she has done commissions. Caroline often collaborates with poet, Arthur Ginsberg. They recently published a book of poems and illustrations called Carrotway to Heaven (1997).

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