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Thinking of Jonah at the Children’s Museum

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

Zipped inside a nylon whale, breathing air pumped into that fishy tent, hard not to think of Jonah, sorry and scarved in seaweed, hard not to picture the ship receding, huge watery acres of abyss, breakers sweeping over. And jaws, the tight squeeze through baleen, stew of stomach acid… Until then, easy for him to…

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Knock

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

I wouldn’t call gulping a glass of ale and backhanding foam off your upper lip a form of devotion, or the refusal to laugh at an off-color joke a sign of reverence. But I could imagine God, a wounded rat in one hand, a soothing song— I do not say on his lips. No, it’s…

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House of Sparrows

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

What if every time we saw the word sorrow we switched it to sparrow? ——-For my life is spent with sparrows… ——-With drunkenness and sparrows… Or if it went the other way, the song would be, ——-His eye is on the sorrow…. § My eye’s on the neighbor’s eaves, and the copper-roofed house we put…

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Daybreak, Winter

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

Now light fills the tree outside our window— tree whose fruit, when it comes, only the birds, and just a few of them, want to eat, tree that turns stiff and dry midsummer, rushing the season, so we fear the city will come and butcher it, though so far it’s been spared because in spring…

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Gravity and Grace

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it… ————————————-—Simone Weil Simone Weil, it’s hard to concentrate on you with those three boys on the next bench blowing up balloons and letting them go, all squirt and grunt, fizzling into— the void, I think you’d say. And…

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Lord, Sky

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

The light falling on the steps of city hall this late afternoon infuses the whole sky and bathes these poor little trees of heaven stuck in concrete. Flooding down from all sides, light slants across ruddy storefront brick, streaks along cables, glitters up from the bay, and now, as I turn west toward the hospital,…

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Pears, Unstolen

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

I was stopped on the sidewalk by pears glowing on their tree like antique ornaments with flaking paint, a green metallic shimmer, hinting at yellow, mottled with a few flecks of red. As light flickered over them, they seemed to flutter like candles in the leaves. But no—they were pears, and probably hard, I told…

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Web Exclusive: A Reader Interview with Betsy Sholl

By Image Interview

Betsy Sholl’s poem “The Harrowing” is published in Image issue 73. This web-exclusive interview with Sholl features questions from readers of Image.    How do you connect with secular readers? Part of me wonders if, when it comes to art, these distinctions between secular and sacred really apply. A poet has to write from a point…

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The Harrowing

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

Steep concrete stairs leading up to the empty stadium’s ledge— and was it a moment’s lapse, that one step out onto air? Or was there a clamor, a shrieking inside, a pack chasing her, creatures who prodded and leered, who for so long, like sleeping dogs, she gingerly stepped around, and perhaps had come to…

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The Grackles

By Betsy Sholl Poetry

Down the block, our new neighbors, not unlike the old, could be named the Grackles, given the way everything they have is loud: cars, children, stereos, parties. It all spills out into the street—broken bikes, pizza boxes, a nasty looking dog with nothing to restrain it but the owner’s curse. Giving the mutt wide berth,…

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