She Would Not Say Her Work by Jennifer Atkinson

(Agnes Martin “The Rose”)


is the work
of turning of turning

field to field
as in spring the winter

rye is turned
its interwoven underside

made legible
or as when in summer

the flax is turned
from straw back to billow

the fibers
dam-rett and knife-broke

scutched and hackled
spun to thread

and woven into swaths
of soft linen

Like the weaver
caught up in the pleasure

of vanishing
into the work the shuttle

the felted
thump of the beater against

the weft

as dust motes
in sunlight she draws

with deliberate unemphatic lines
the echo

while thinking through snowfall
of roses

of rose of roseness
of not drawing roses


Jennifer Atkinson is the author of five books of poetry. The most recent one, The Thinking Eye, was published by ParlorPress/Free Verse Editions in 2016. Individual poems have appeared in journals including Field, Image, Witness, Poecology, Terrain, The Missouri Review, and Cincinnati Review. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at George Mason University in Virginia.