Poem by Rick Mullin

On seeing the cocoons of Judith Ann Scott
and a photo of the artist with her work

A knotted skein of yarn and Christmas lights
contained the torso. An apostrophe
of swollen limblessness and parasites,
an armature of stolen property
in attic dust. It spoke of motherhood
and would not easily be photographed.
She rolled her heavy eyes. She understood
why sister cried, and why nobody laughed.
It smelled like kitchen towels and Styrofoam,
a bra, a yellow butcher’s smock and tin.
It sparkled like the errant chromosome,
or junk if they forgot to plug it in.
And when she pressed up hard against its side,
the lullaby within would come untied.
American Museum of Visionary Art,
Baltimore, Maryland,
October 3, 2009


American Arts Quarterly, Fall 2010, Volume 27, Number 4