blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Drawing Lesson: Outline and Edge

An outline surrounds a form that is no longer there.
                                                       —Eleanor Rufty

Like this drawing by my mother of my baby hand,
the plump, splayed fingers outlined in waxy crayon.

Or the body on the sidewalk:
here's where it was when it fell.
Flat blue chalk shows he raised his hands.

Where is the form no longer there?
If auras of angels were outlines
who knows where the angel flew?
Or the victim, bagged and borne away.
Or myself, in nineteen forty-two.

The line dies, says the artist,
if it only outlines. Think of a line as an edge,
as the edge of a form
that is moving away from you in space.

And I do, as I trace your profile,
your edges, the slope of your shoulders
while you sit by the fire, curved to the book
you hold with both hands.  

return to top