Thursday, April 18, 2024

GAS Featured Poet/Artist: LaWanda Walters

 LaWanda Walters is the author of Light Is the Odalisque, which was published in 2016 by Press 53 in its Silver Concho Poetry Series. New poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Southern ReviewPoetryThe Georgia ReviewThe Ekphrastic Review, and Live Encounters Poetry & WritingShe received Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards in 2020 and 2024. She is also a painter who once worked with acrylics but now concentrates on digital painting via Procreate on her iPhone and iPad. She lives in Cincinnati.

What Glass Is


Glass shows itself through what

it holds, as in a Janet Fish still life—

four old-fashioned tumblers like

the ones in restaurants for water,


before you had to say you’d like

water with the menu. Here the water

fills up the almost-invisible glasses

set on a glass table outside, somewhere.


The bottoms of the glasses kiss

their upside-down likenesses

that swim up to the table’s surface

as fast as starving koi. The glasses 


might obscure the road that goes somewhere,

surrounded by woods on either

side, except that we see the scene,

the road disappearing, again and again,


a swirl of green and ochre, repeating

concentric circles of lemon-lime grass, indigo

sky, fir trees bending in the water, filling

the curvy tumbler, tumbling the view.





balances, the way it settles the wings

of the shoulder blades, how my mind becomes

another thing, a composition in greasy oils,

which takes time, which allows no fussing over,


the mind’s surplus of feeling in need of the blade

of the palette knife, scraping off the errors

I was fussing over for too long, muddying

what should be clear—taking time to clean


the excess of color with a palette knife

so it has time to dry in the sun, so the trees

show in their clear tones of green and brown,

so I don’t drive off into spinning mud,


so the sun dries the trees in their perfect being,

so you’ll see what I mean, meant all the time.


Screen Porch


Still tangled together in bed, we keep on talking

like water overlapping, small slaps

at a blue pool’s edge, like riders 

walking their horses home,

like two people rocking on the porch swing,

loath to go in to the bright yellow light.


The Renaissance of Grandparenthood


Grandparents, if they’re lucky,

get to go down the lane again,

make up stories, say “Let’s play like

we’re pirates with the costume earrings,


now we’re princes, now we’re home again,”

get to see what once they had no time

to see—how lost earrings make a pirate’s

loot—and know their child should be painted by


a Mary Cassatt. They see, this time around,

the curves that made Giotto’s cherubim,

the child in the painting all of them

at any time, and those who sit in court


should recognize Giotto’s cherubim

from a blue mosaic sky—gold and earth tones

seen and shown with awe, any court aware

of a chessboard that is garden, toads and all.



Two Seasons: An Elegy for My Second Husband


In the video 

your daughter posted last night,

Tokyo petals


loiter, swirl, circle—

a blizzard like a slow dance

of cherry blossoms


in the lantern light,

like that night in early spring 

I left you at Good


Sam and it started

to sleet as I was driving.

I was terrified


until the flurries 

distracted me. Like flowers 

riding the headlights



my journey home to our kids,

escorted by snow.



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