In her own words...

"Artist, Once"


There was in a room for rent.
It had a window and a bed,

It was enough for dreaming,
for stunning facts like being

at last, and undeniably
in NYC, enough to hold

enfolded as in a pregnancy,
those not yet painted works

to be. They, hanging fire,
slow to come — to come

out — being deep inside her,
oozing metamorphosis

in her warm dark, took
their time and promised.

Fast forward. Trapped in now,
she’s not all that sure.

Compared to what entwined
her mind before the test,

before the raw achievement
pat, secure — oh, such bounty

to be lived, yet untasted,
undefined — all the rest…


About this work

“Artist, Once” was first published in Salmagundi, Nos. 162-163 (Spring-Summer 2009), p. 95.  It is also included in Dorothea Tanning's book, Coming to That: Poems, New York: Graywolf Press, 2011, p. 52, and may not be reprinted without the publisher's permission.

J. D. McClatchy recorded a reading of this poem on April 17, 2015.