Shooting Angels

Shooting Angels — 10" x 23"; encaustic print, copper, polymer clay, stones, found objectsThis encaustigraphic print suspension was created for an exhibition of art and writing at the Portage District Library (March–April 2014) pairing visual and literary creators. My partner was Margaret DeRitter, whose poem “Mendon, Michigan” I interpreted in the piece “Shooting Angels.”

Mendon, Michigan

Sunday afternoon and I’ve found the old stone church.
Across the road, centuries of granite and limestone,
name upon name eroded by time and rain.

She used to shoot angels here. Her Mendon series.
Today I shoot angels and headstones and Jesus,
then drive to the old brick schoolhouse, where ivy claws
and climbs the mortar she restored with a lover’s care.

She thought a one-room home and small-town life
would make her muse return. Instead they made her long
for Kalamazoo, where she found me—substitute muse,
dependable shelter, immovable star.

On Sundays we would drive down Silver Street to roam
the graves and sit outside the schoolhouse in her car.
She needed to know her abandoned treasure
was still well tended.

On those days we’d walk the St. Joe River, watch birds fly off
toward Centreville. She’d point to the house where David and Sarah
lived, artist and writer, writer and gardener. She loved their studio,
their gardens, their marriage—the idea of it all.

Nesting was her specialty, her safety net,
her terror. She flew back from California once.
We sat in a car outside my house.