Two Poems by Judith Skillman

Field of Statice
In July the bright ones come
from the ground.
Stars on rented stalks
cover strings of silver
strewn by elven-folk
who live for but a day.

Tell me any color—
sea lavender,
limonium, marsh-rosemary—
I tell you l believe
in any memory
come from water.

A sky full of foam,
a fire burning
down the hatchery,
that’s the madness of July.
Give me the herb,
the everlasting calyx.

Dry me a bouquet
and quiet the wind.
Let night put out
even the boldest blues,
the most outrageous purples
and dissolute creams.


The Jacarandas
I left them
on boulevards,
veiled figures wresting
purples from the earth,
the breeze stirring
a kind of trouble.

I left them
as I left my youth—
a memory vivid only
in dream. I left
with my fingers
crossed behind
my back, the countryside
dry and golden
or simply brown,
ready to catch fire
with the first strike
of lightning, the cigarette
thrown from an open window.

I left my inks
there as well,
and the pens. If you don’t
believe me there are stories
of other women
equally bereft.

About the Poet

Judith Skillman’s recent book is Kafka’s Shadow, Deerbrook Editions, 2017. Came Home to Winter is forthcoming from Deerbrook Editions later this year. Her poems have appeared in journals including PoetryFIELD, Cimarron Review, Shenandoah, and in anthologies including Nasty Women Poets, Lost Horse Press. She has been a writer in residence at the Centrum Foundation, and is the recipient of a 2017 Washington Trust GAP grant. Visit www.judithskillman.comjkpaintings.com