We Work in the Dark

cornwellIt is a hood ornament for my printer,
Both black, both exactly
The same length. Where did it live
In his house?

A few miles from here,
The Grand River snakes between cliffs
Where a train used to run,
Its whistle charting my mother’s sleep.

When it settles into Lake Hudson,
Houses predominate, no room
For train tracks or bears now,
Only the silence of closed curtains.

Did it gather dust in his studio?
And were the windows open
To the smell of catfish water,
The slope of scissortail in flight?

There is so much we can learn
From art and fallen sycamores,
From caring about the form
Of things that haunt us.

–Shaun Perkins

NOTE: I won this piece of art in a local art walk. It was made by Jack Cornwell, a set designer in New York who somehow wound up settling in this area. He has 2 claims to fame (sort of): He did the art direction on the 1970 Jan Michael Vincent movie Defiance and he was the one who came up with the lymon prop for Sprite in the late 70’s. And . . . last bit of weirdness: His son killed him in 2001 after an argument in his home near Lake Hudson a few miles from me. There’s no title for this piece. I find it strangely compelling.


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