Poetry by Madeleine Barnes


Meandering clouds occupy the blueness
that hurdles behind your father’s shoulders.

We’re wandering King’s Park waiting to hear
whether or not you’ve attained a visa

when we find ourselves under a Boab tree.
The color fields are confrontational:

his blue eyes mirror the blueness of yours
blue that strikes out any fear of starkness

and having only just met we approach
the peaceful trunk and swerving root system.

He’s pointing out its exaggeration
while you present documents to strangers,

officially deciding where your life will lean—
back to Australia or toward New York City.

I’ve watched your tiny ship push away from
an inner, circular melancholy

toward peaceful geometrical order,
away from the vaulted uncertainty

of who we will become to one another.
Magpies scatter their feathers in the grass.

Later your father will ask me
if I remember the moon behind the bark.

His voice will be the great central image
in this visual transcript of serenity:

the blueness of the sky behind your heart.

Madeleine Barnes is a poet and visual artist from Pittsburgh, PA.  Her work has appeared in places like Pleiades, The Rattling Wall, Yew Journal, Three Rivers Review, North Central Review, Plain China, The Rattling Wall, North Central Review, and Jai-Alai Magazine.  Her chapbook, The Mark My Body Draws in Light, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014, and she received her MFA from New York University.