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The Way they Wrap Things in France, by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

It took a while to get used to the way they bundle things, the French, the brown
paper, string-ties, flashy bags with handles. It took some time to suss out

their everlasting care with oeuf dur and frommages, how yogurt comes packed in
those small ceramic pots, and how Madame’s cool frown is her way to assign

all her regard to the slicing and packing of gros pain for one. It took a while to reckon
with detailed attention. I had no history with demi-loaves, the single cup

of perfect Provence tea. I’d never learned to see how the yellow dress I prized,
the one delivered in a smashing orange box with painted ribbon didn’t fit my life,

how my unstudied skirts, uneven collars, ragged hair were not badges of nonchalance
but of surrender. The flag hanging on my neighborhood boutique de lingerie

reads: dites-moi tous. I have nothing to tell. Instead, I go inside to buy
the cut silk negligee, take it home in its exquisite package, unwrap it, happy

to let it go unseen. Alone among the ribbons, I take a chance on satin,
on tissue and ties, begin to learn again how carefully to wrap myself, in France.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 1.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle
Wendy Taylor Carlisle  is the author of two books of poetry and two chapbooks.  See more about her and her work at  www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com.

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Placement, by Sharon Olson

those trees themselves I was never to know
what they had been trying to give me nor
where else I had seen them
—Proust, Within a Budding Grove

i

the three trees guarded the entrance to a smaller road,
and by the time Marcel’s carriage had turned
down another lane he found he had not finished
thinking about them, how their gloved branches
had brushed him aside

six adolescent girls running on the strand,
pumping their legs, each one trying to outrace
the other, he wanted to be the center of their circle,
the tree around which they would revolve

the trees, the legs of the girls,
the Venetian painters he studied in his art books,
how they rendered air

ii

Piero della Francesca visited Arezzo once,
filled his fresco with stately figures progressing
across a landscape like a stand of trees

there were trees like that above the town,
a group of cypress, and when I saw them
it was as if I had encountered them before

a pattern of images I was assembling,
the sunlight on my legs,
the air between the trunks
bands of blue

iii

it hung on the wall with all my other postcards
an etching of three trees on a hillside
Rembrandt, 1643

I saw it first turning a corner
in Rembrandt’s house, at age eighteen,
a motif that would be repeated

I was trying to understand it all, you see,
the space between the figures
the air between the limbs
putting everything into motion
the way the painter begins

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 1.

Sharon Olson, a retired librarian, lives in Guilford, Connecticut. Her book The Long Night of Flying (Sixteen Rivers Press) was published in 2006, and her poems have appeared recently in Arroyo Literary Review and U.S. 1 Worksheets.

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Instructions for Entering Rembrandt’s Landscape with trees, farm buildings and a tower (c.1651), by Jennifer Finstrom

Imagine that the world of the etching
isn’t as small as it seems; it will contain
what you bring with you. See how the area
around the trees and the little thatch-roofed building
is open and empty. A single fencepost casting
its shadow on the ground hints at the fact
that someone else was once here, but whoever
they were, they are gone now, and the little house
is vacant. Behind it, the lop-sided tower waits,
like history, to take you in, and if there is a past here,
there must also be a future. Follow your gaze
up past the tower’s disintegrating stones
where the etching seems to end. The sky there,
too, is vast, and at night will be an ancient pot
boiling with stars. You will want your trusted
constellations with you in the long rural darkness,
your hunting dogs and dark crow, the two shambling
bears to frighten away the wolves. As the frame
opens outward, you will smell the unharvested hay,
sheep calling as if they are lost, the wind
of another century. Trees take on color as you
step inside. The sky fills slowly up with blue.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 14, Issue 1.

Jennifer Finstrom has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine, an online literary quarterly, since October of 2005. Her work has appeared in several places, including Atlanta Review, RHINO, Wisconsin Review, and previously in Cider Press Review. She lives in Chicago, Illinois, where she has recently obtained an MA in Writing and Publishing from DePaul University.

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