Breeze in Translation

Me, I like to putz in the kitchen and regard

fat garlic and hum about nothing. Make it up.


for blues . Like dragging down the street


in a hundred-and-four heat--you know

when air temp tops body temp, how buzzed

and weird

you get? Word for trance . So this character


taps me: remember me, mon amie ? Name’s

Breeze. Then she dictates most fabulous. I’m

blessed. She’s benign. Word for pixilated .

She’s a scholarship girl at the School of


Fine Arts

so she drags me down the line to an out-of-town

show. Rattle express. Word for

kismet . This lady with the face of an old walnut


sits by us making lace with an eye-fine

hook and when the train dives into the tunnels

she keeps working in the dark. Word’s

exquisite . Breeze sings


scat all the way to the opening:

sculpture of heating ducts, stovepipes and stones.

Breeze is prole to the bone. The tablecloth’s

splattered with blood of the lamb,


wine on the lace. The critic pronounces


vulgar, and asks: Why have there been so few

great women artists?


We ask ourselves. The word is

jerkoff . Breeze, who is terrifyingly fluent,

challenges him to sew a bride’s dress. From

scratch. Femmes aux barricades! The critic


can’t weave

a cat’s cradle. Breeze spits: By hand. French lace.

From “Refuge” (University of Pittsburgh Press: $16.95 cloth; $8.95 paper; 73 pp.). Belle Waring is a Virginia native who teaches on the Field Faculty of the Vermont College MFA program and works as a registered nurse. 1990 Belle Waring.