In The Orchard | 23


collected like sweater 
thread into his script

floor gathers     elephant 
trunk     smolder     knot 

at the neck and fissure 
     what was discovered 

     not a skeleton key but 
skeletal     completed over 

the length of a conversation 
about spouses     the weight 

of the wool is still there
though     our language 

is not pictorial but this is 
one word     legged like 

livestock     the back 
of needlework still bears 

resemblance     how well 
in hazard light the map 

is drawn     lost one
     give this a dog’s ear

Justin Runge is the author of Plainsight (New Michigan Press, 2012) and Hum Decode (Greying Ghost Press, 2014). His criticism has been featured by Black Warrior Review and Pleiades, and his poetry has been published in Best New Poets 2013, Cincinnati Review, Sycamore Review, Poetry Northwest, Salt Hill, DIAGRAM, and other journals.

Editor’s note: This poem responds to a piece in Andrew Wyeth’s The Helga Pictures,” a collection of over 240 images in a variety of media that depict a single subject, Wyeth’s neighbor and friend Helga Testorf. Read other pieces from “In the Orchard” at The Maynard and Sons and Daughters.

[image: The Helga Pictures, #23 | Andrew Wyeth]

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