The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Eva Heisler’s “Drawing Water”

Eva Heisler

From Eva Heisler’s book “Drawing Water”

                              Take the horizon line, for example,
                                                                            a mirage—

                                         that marks the limit of sight.

                                             

I spend much of my writing time seeking the horizon
line. I know that there is no such line but I see the line
when I look up from small blocks of text and squint at
the sea. To write prose poems is to resist the horizon
line—

to seek thick thin straight curved broken wavy lines
among crumpled pages.

I work with little ink in my pen and hardly make a
mark.

                                              

I shade squares while I wait
for the phone to ring. I draw boxes while I
listen to a lover
                complain about his bowels. I draw
                            circles inside boxes. I divide
                               circles into quarters; I add
                                    a circle to each quarter;
                                                   another square.
                                                       The patterns,
             like the carpet pages of Irish monks,
                   mean to bewilder evil thoughts.

_______________. This line is rational.

_______________. This line is irrational.

                                             □

The squares expand into wobbly architecture as H. goes on
about something heard on the BBC or an article in The New York
Review of Books. Occasionally I transcribe something he says: I
couldn’t stand my father’s face in the mirror when he was shaving…the nose
was crooked…ugly…what mirror trick was this… The marks are not
symbolic but physical, something to do with releasing a lover’s
energy while listening

to the description of a rough patch on the back of his left hand.
I stop marking when I talk, my hand gesturing in the air and, at
last, where the page is too dark, I use the edge of my penknife
lightly, and for some time, to wear lines softly into an even tone.
The difficulty consists in achieving evenness: one bit always
appears darker

than another; or there will be a granulated and sandy look over
the page (and in my voice). I give up the rough page and begin
another square. I keep many squares in progress at one time, and
I reserve my pen for the light square just when the ink is nearly
exhausted. The square ought, at last, to appear light and even,
with no lines visible.

This selection comes from Eva Heisler’s book Drawing Water, available from Noctuary Press! Purchase your copy here!

Eva Heisler is a Maryland-born poet and art critic who lived in Iceland for many years and now resides in Germany. Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic (Kore Press, 2013) features a series of prose poems that explore failures of translation, the materiality of voice, and the relationship of language to perception. The book-length poem Drawing Water (Noctuary Press, 2013) meditates on line (conceptual line, descriptive line, expressive line, and found line) in an attempt to rethink the poetic line. Vocabulary Landscape, a work-in progress, explores the language of landscape description; an excerpt was recently published in Asymptote.

Leslie LaChance‘s poems have appeared in Quiddity, JMWW, the Best of the Net Anthology, Apple Valley Review, The Greensboro Review, Juked, The Birmingham Poetry Review, Slow Trains, Free Lunch, Chronogram, and Appalachian Journal. She also edits Mixitini Matrix: A Journal of Creative Collaboration. Her chapbook, How She Got That Way, appears in the quartet volume Mend & Hone from Toadlily Press.

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