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XO | Susan Lowdermilk

XO

XO
XO On What Might have Been Our Anniversary
Limited Edition Artist Book
$400

I met Jeanine Hathaway in 2004 at a show of my prints in downtown Eugene, Oregon. She was writing poetry while on sabbatical leave from teaching at Wichita State University in Kansas. It turned out that she was also my neighbor, renting a room down the street and we became friends. Jeanine was inspired by my woodcut diptych titled, “Remembering, Forgetting,” and wrote the poem, “XO, On what might have been our anniversary.” I created my artist’s book, inspired by her poem, printed from the woodblocks I crested for “Remembering, Forgetting,” thus completing our circle of creativity and inspiration. Text is ink jet printed on organdy fabric using an Epson C88. 6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 3/4″, 2007

XO On what might have been our anniversary

How our desires signed off, stringing along

kisses and hugs. Once a game, an alphabet

for two boxed in pens, our characters

tick-tacked onto a lattice.

I’d x you out. You’d hold your place.

We crossed ourselves, carved the zero

of a face in bank accounts, park benches, sand.

Like hope in deep midwinter, no valentine survives

on frosted windshields, sugar hearts. XO can

disappear, a change not like weather but when,

like a woodcut, the inked vows erode from relief

to vague and slurred impressions. Even kissing

cost us breath, the tight squeeze, breadth.

In grading, lists, the X means wrong and done.

More than binary, O means failed, perfect.


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