No blueprint,

by Mary Jo Firth Gillett
Featured Art: “Fates Gathering in the Stars” by Elihu Vedder

no plan, no agenda, rather call it pulse and impulse,
zest and precipice, the mind mindful as a volcano

spilling over, or the sometimes bliss of the fisherman
dropping a line into the waters, the welters, the winds

of whatever may come from the twist and coil
of gray matter and what matter that it’s pure delusion

or that it’s—print it!—sensate escape, if it be a stay
against the onslaught of despot, tsunami, flight

of refugee, of sanity—and yes, print it flounder
in murky water, not the fish but struggle for the lure

flash and shimmer just out of reach. Or else shift
the metaphor to the heart, a steed wild for wilderness,

bucking the known reigns, the towers of Babel,
confusion of tongues. Print it hard but true,

the what’s-the-matter sudden matters of health,
the sharp word given or received, and who cares

what garb—bathrobe, hip boot—in this dream state
dangling on the edge of disaster, of paradise, each letter

a bodily sound held in the mouth, each spark a jumble
of luck and pluck, both zoo and zoom, design bucking

certain decline, a dive into the deep Sargasso of eel,
whale, syllable, tangle of seaweed, wrangle of word.


Mary Jo Firth Gillett’s Soluble Fish won the Crab Orchard Series First Book Award and she’s published four award-winning chapbooks, most recently Dance Like a Flame (Hill-Stead Sunken Gardens Poetry Award). Poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Salamander, Third Coast, Green Mountains Review, and other journals as well as on the Verse Daily website. She’s won the N.Y. Open Voice Poetry Award and a Kresge Artist Fellowship in the Literary Arts.

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