Clare Rossini

From a Bench at MOMA
October 3, 2012 Rossini Clare

From a Bench at MOMA


Don’t wanna, don’t wanna,

I really don’t want to go


Into the next room, don’t want to see

The red and yellow and blue


Rectangles and squares

Hemmed in by black lines.  They’re beautiful


In their way, another day

And I would be theirs, drifting


One to the next, an empiricist who dissects to know

A primary Jehovah.


Wanna stay, wanna stay

Here on this bench, the woman


Next to me feeding a child from her breast.  I hear

His suck and swallow


As I wade into the pond before me,

Three canvases wide.   The water rises around


The ankles and knees of my sight, the scumbled strokes,

Glazy-thin washed ones–


Here’s a leaf

Squiggled greenly, right out of the tube,


There’s a lily, haute-pink, flaming against

The wandering, watery blues


Darkening as nakedness might.  I’m floating

Now, floating toward the far, deep end


Onto which something tall

Has thrown its shade, O


Lavender-leaf-water god

For whom the votive lilies are burning.

Clare Rossini’s third collection, Lingowas published by University of Akron Press. Her poems and essays have appeared in such venues as The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review,  Ploughshares, Poetry, and the Best American Poetry series. The Poetry of Capital, an anthology Rossini co-edited, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2021.  After forty-plus years of college teaching, she has just retired as Artist-in-Residence in the English Department at Trinity College.