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]