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 has published three books of poems, the first of which won the Akron Poetry Prize.  She recently co-edited an anthology titled The Poetry of Capital (University of Wisconsin, 2020). Her poems have appeared in publications such as Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, Plume, and Poetry, as well as in many anthologies, including The Best American Poetry series, in which she’s appeared twice, most recently in 2020.  She has received grants and awards from a variety of organizations, including the State of Connecticut, the Minnesota Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, and the Maxwell Shepherd Foundation; she’s also had residencies at MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the American Academy in Rome.