Imagine the geometry of flower
is hunger for balance,
is my child’s hand on the gears of beauty
layering and interlocking color.
Picture me prone, a small center point—
one copper dot in the white Minnesota winter.
Picture my mother drying her hands
placing the compass and spinning
arcs and intersecting curves,
woodland flowers growing
into many-petaled mandalas
into limitlessness: a universe
of circles, of symmetry—sun,
stars, blooms and orange-hued fruits,
the berry, squash, ripe tomato wonder
My own spirograph bursts
rush forth ornate like paisley, like fireworks
against dark summer sky. Spokes and wheels
and gears meshing—each pencil thrust
a tentative mark, a hopeful threading
of the cogs of longing. Imagine my fingers
holding tight to the friction,
watch the intricate flourishes appear
on white paper—the tabula rasa
transformed by oval,
just another language
another voice saying hello
to the spiraling bodies of self.
Imagine my psychedelic crayola
yearning, my January pining
after the purple florals
the cosmos, the daisy mix
(he loves me, he loves me not)
on Gurney’s seed packs.
Now watch as we carve splendor:
my world is medicine wheel and hand drum,
is pow-wow bustle and beadwork in woodland design.
The sweep of nature tallied by curve,
by eye, assembled now as scarlet fractals,
as collage of vines, tassels, seed pods,
and a child’s simple pink infinity.
Poet, photographer, and scholar,Kimberly Blaeser is the current Wisconsin Poet Laureate. A Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she teaches Creative Writing, Native American Literature, and American Nature Writing. Blaeser is the author of three acclaimed poetry collections,Apprenticed to Justice, Absentee Indians and Other Poems, and Trailing You, and the editor of Stories Migrating Home: A Collection of Anishinaabe Prose andTraces in Blood, Bone, and Stone: Contemporary Ojibwe Poetry. She is also the author of the scholarly monograph Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition. Blaeser’s poetry, short fiction, and essays have been widely anthologized, most recently in The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Her poetry has also been translated into several languages including Spanish, Norwegian, Indonesian, and French. She has been the recipient of awards for both writing and speaking, among these a Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship in Poetry and three Pushcart Nominations. Her poem “Living History” was selected for installation in the Midwest Express Building in Milwaukee. Her current creative project features “Picto-Poems” and brings her nature and wildlife photography together with poetry to explore intersecting ideas about Native place, nature, preservation, and spiritual sustenance. Of Anishinaabe ancestry and a native of White Earth Reservation in northwestern Minnesota, Blaeser currently lives with her family in the woods and wetlands of rural Lyons Township, Wisconsin.