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BOOKS & THE CULTURE Names Project: For Judith McDonnell Yet another panel to piecechild’s quilt for a woman grown childlike, her body shrunken brain swollen back to that time before speech. Beyond speech ourselves we take up our needles as the doctor finally did detaching I.V.s. As frontier women used to in consoling huddles working through patterns passed down for centuries. Her dying was long labor, thrush, fever, cough, cold. Old diseases returning in their deadly guise. So we stitch for a strong woman stripped down to spirit, this Crazy Quilt, giving form to what has no form but by craft, our common thread, acceptance which is only a stage of grief. Not Singing Because the heart is a fist in the closet of the chest, a shut-away tapping and pounding more easily ignored than deciphered. Because the body is a burnished door, our revolving admission and refusal. Because we often enter and go no further than the first few steps, eyes closed in familiar fear that dark we have no need for words to. –J ERAH CHADWICK Mesquite 1 What moves them moves us a delicate green motion that must come from within No air so still but they contrive somehow a feathery dance that glides first in sight then inside. 2. Fastidiously they take the wind in small sips at their own pace as though bending only to their own will. 3. This is the green that heals this pale shimmering green that slides so subtly into every pore you forget you’ve seen it with your eyes. 4. Or perhaps it’s just that we were once each of us a pale green leaf on a single giant mesquite. ALBERT HUFFSTICKLER j erah Chadwick has lived on the Aleutian island of Unalaska for the past fourteen years, and directs the outreach program of the University of Alaska. On his last trip to Texas, driving to San Antonio where his family lives, he was amazed by the numbers of armadillos he saw along the roads. Albert Huffstickler is retired from the library at U.T.-Austin. He won the Austin Book Award in 1989, the same year a Senate resolution was passed honoring his contribution to Texas poetry. He has given readings and conducted workshops in many states. Recently he was featured in the Living Poets Series of the journal Atom Mind. These writers’ poems feel joined by their generous linkages of lives, person to person, thread to thread, tree to person \(though the Aleutian Islands themselves are almost entirely devoid of trees. sionate sense of that spirit “from within,” the essential breath. Naomi Shihab Nye 30 THE TEXAS OBSERVER NOVEMBER 8, 1996