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Wendy Vardaman

Wendy Vardaman moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 2000. She is co-editor and web master of Verse Wisconsin, and Cowfeather Press. The author of Obstructed View (Fireweed Press 2009) and co-editor of the 2013 Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, her poems have appeared widely in anthologies, journals, and online sites. In addition to poetry, she writes essays and interviews, which have appeared in Poetry Daily, Women's Review of Books and, as well as other venues. She has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.S. in Engineering from Cornell University, and works part-time for The Young Shakespeare Players. With husband, Thomas DuBois, she has three children and does not own a car.

The Arts in America:

Each frozen February limb becomes a chime:
each branch brushed against, an instrument
the accidental shoulder plays upon, the distraught
attempting-balance arm turned conductor, turned baton, sets on, and when wind commences upon
that cue to blow, a thousand, thousand icy fingers start
to shake, to make as they strike one then the next
a most extravagant symphony: harmonium

whose glass parts shatter when struck, plucked,
stopped, so that the day following this rare
concert, fragments of its brasses, woodwinds, strings
line the path, mysterious remains for those not
among the audience of this premiere,
this one-and only under-publicized performance.

Ode on St. Catherine of Siena's Day

Fifty daffodils, one hundred
last fall produce
only a handful of half-way resurrections:
limp wings on weak
necks emerging from a cracked
tomb—the wrong
soil and a long
winter of low temperatures without insulating snow.

Content yourself with this:
a few lines, less
than you conceived
by the time they arrived—
scribbled on the back of something else; almost forgotten
between their thought and the interruption
of children, practice,
questions of dinner and the day, cookies
for tomorrow, the last
burned inedible—
and their retrieval;

or with dandelions—too many
to count—bright as any
daffodil but longer lasting, cheerful,
less temperamental,
and a neighbor's sign: Free
tall, fresh dug, ready to return
to bad soil like saints to heaven.

Image: Wendy Vardaman

Wendy Vardaman