Issue 14 -Sarah Ann Winn-Sketching from Life

First, she asks us to draw the cut tulip in the vase, 

to draw it from under and above, to turn it in our minds 

so that we are viewing the sun through its long veins, 

so that we imagine it ascending unroped, unmanned into the sky. 


Then she asks us to draw it growing in a field, among 

one million bright brothers and sisters, swaying undisturbed 

by the strokes of our pencils. 


Next she has us offer it to a stranger on a subway, or to lightly trace 

the movement of a tulip on a high wire. She asks us to introduce 

the tulip to Chihuly, to remind him of the fragility of the tulip, 

what it knows of waiting in the darkness. 


She asks us to take the tulip from winter, to shade in 

the grit and dirt, to imagine deer teeth rooting and gnawing. 

To imagine a spring without tulips. 


She asks us to draw the tulip in a field where it doesn't belong, 

make a grid of orange cups ordering a mall parking lot, 

or a lone red in a stippled yellow sea of daffodils. 


She asks us to cut it for our grandmother, to place it in a juice bottle 

on the kitchen counter, or in the plastic water pitcher on a hospital 



Now we're supposed to draw just the petals, splayed, or fallen, 

first their tender vivid cups, 

then the straight line bruise of a fallen stick 

scraping the petals, folding them. 



We’re to close our eyes, and draw it without looking, 

get down on the page the memory of its scent. 

She asks us to view the stamen as 

arms, to ask ourselves what the arms want. 


To sketch the answer.


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