Issue > Poetry

Peg Alford Pursell

Peg Alford Pursell is the author of the forthcoming book of stories, Show Her a Flower, a Bird, a Shadow (ELJ Publications). Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from VOLT, RHINO, and The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, among others. She curates Why There Are Words, a reading series she founded six years ago in Sausalito, and is founding editor of the independent publisher of books WTAW Press.

The Map She Is Trying to Follow

She's been making some difficult paintings using yellow the shade of an aged claret. A granted favor, these interludes of solitude, the brush in the hand with its compass, the color like a chalice of bees. Her life after childhood stands as in a closet or lies under the bed, unknown revelation, ambition. Someday she will look deeply enough to recognize herself in the clouded mirror of shame. The map she is trying to follow is the back of her hand. There is an arrogance in assuming that you belong where you choose to stand. The artist and the world must strike some compromise. Perhaps she is a window, the open glass of every looking eye. Or perhaps the dreams of those who sleep on top of her like the pale fish of ancient rivers. Perhaps the light of the rounded air that shines on the missing in the meadows of yellow silence. Sometimes the sun seems an undying noise.

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