Shirley Glubka

Issue 14


Magic lay over everything—
in the fragrance,
the assembling,
the fittings.
It came in the light.

She found herself alone,
the light falling with happiness.
with perfect distinctness,
going back to the strange beginning.

The rest contracted,
pressed close,
a stiffness, puzzled and interested.

She must find the answer,
say the answer to herself.
She tried to smile, felt her way.
It was nothing.
It couldn’t be anything.
It was dignity in black hat and black gloves.

Somewhere out in the sunshine:
the piping note, out of tune.

She went slowly upstairs,
there was no hurry.
A little crack
in an upper pane
shone like a gold thread.

(Source: final chapter of Dorothy Richardson’s The Pointed Roofs: Pilgrimage)

Method: I often think my erasures might better be called pluckings. I go through a text and “pluck” words and phrases that call to me. I look for energy, vividness, peculiarity. I might go back, pluck more, for sense, or because the developing poem wants more, sees more, begins to understand itself. I hone. My rule: keep everything in the exact order and the exact form (verb form, pronoun gender, etc.) that the source text dictates; no rearranging; no cheating.

Shirley Glubka is a retired psychotherapist, the author of three poetry collections and two novels. Her most recent book: The Bright Logic of Wilma Schuh: a novel (Blade of Grass Press, 2017). Shirley lives in Prospect, Maine with her spouse, Virginia Holmes. Website: