Steady eyes I used to have steady soul steady head, my feet, steady;
I still have steady hands, alas my hands, they are still steady.
The rest: they split ways this and that, ran away with my composure and my clarity,
Did away with saneness and faith, but these fingers, always steady.
I have the artist’s hand, hand that bends and curves, searches for purity,
The sublime line: that tracing that redresses all that wasn’t steady.
I like clean lines, make it pretty, make it red raw, make it count.
Notch the directory where all things come together, come steady.
Blades and pencils, paintbrushes and razors, graphites and broken glass, ink markers;
Pressure obliterates from the soul, in bursts of steady.
It’s faster than talking, faster than relief, won’t requite tithes
On days and days that are all but steady:
On days when heart is haywire and air chokes out light, and sound
Totters and dies in your cochlea, soft and steady;
Days when sun hurts eyes but you draw the line and at last you can see;
Rush and rush endorphins, and you go steady.
How else, how else do you talk, how else do you create the world if not the line,
Straight narrow down the canvas, dash-firm and steady;
How else do you utter the unutterable if not the line,
Slate streaked red with crisscross, patterned and steady?
Subdue the wrist, inflect the hand, flood intention into your magnum opus:
Let the instrument speak you into Being, keep you steady.
A. Martine is a trilingual writer, musician, artist, an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press and a Managing Editor of The Nasiona. She might have been a kraken in a past life. Some of her fiction and nonfiction can be found on The Rumpus, Medium, Lamplight, TERSE. Journal, Metaphorosis, and Bright Wall/Dark Room, among others.