Ida Stewart

Head, perhaps of an angel

a piece in the Early Gothic Hall at The Cloisters

This wall, what happened,
my view, not bad, of the Hudson—
the whole situation hinges

on perhaps.
My lovely wings, hap hap hap,
I imagine

or remember
their loveliness, feathery beyond
perfection, beyond flexibility. My fixation.

Amid museum
heel click and the incessant

motherchildmotherchild chatter
rustling like skirts, tugging

like a lifelike child at skirts
now less Romanesque, more internal—
motherly skirts, soft
motherly faces—

I feel like a figment.

Again, a voice says
the impression of life welling forth.

Stop worrying yourself away, I’m thinking,

thinking thinking is erosion.
Thinking thought-dust
is perhappening the air.

I’m living in my head,
but if I had all of myself, doubtless

I’d cluster, loiter
with the other complete angels
in a corner of this room, stanza (—where are we?)

—a togethering, a warm patience of wings.

Ida Stewart’s first collection of poetry, Gloss, won the 2011 Perugia Press Prize for a first or second book by a woman, and will be published this fall. She holds an MFA in creative writing from The Ohio State University and is currently pursuing a PhD in creative writing at The University of Georgia. She’s a co-editor of Unsplendid and has also served as an editorial assistant at The Georgia Review.