J.D. McClatchy is both an editor of James Merrill’s poetry and the author of an homage “Ouija” (in Hazmat) in memory of the American poet. Reading the two poets back to back I am fascinated by their treatment of the figure of the sheets on a bed. Take these concluding lines from McClathy’s “Happiness” as an instance
Now all we have are shapes on the sheet,
yours doubled over, mine clenched and released.
And the lines remind one of the twisted syntax of Merrill’s lines in “Walking All Night”
Somebody’s shape a sheet
Unwinds from slowly tosses in our moonless heat.
And the figure of sheets makes another appearance in “The linen winds and wrinkles like shed skin” from “A Survival” by Merrill. Both poems by Merrill are collected in The Country of A Thousand Years of Peace.
And so for day 1058