“Sandra Ann Winters” ‘Our Irish Garden’ is a delicious procession of rhyming couplets using an extended garden metaphor. . .”
LESLIE MCGRATH Judge of the 2019 NY Yeats Society Poetry Prize, praises a poem from this collection.
PUBLISHED BY SALMON POETRY (IRELAND) MAY 2020
Do Not Touch is Sandra Ann Winters’ second full-length book of poetry, in which section I weaves the themes of sexuality, nature, and everydayness. In “Anthurium,” her carefully constructed lines transform an inanimate flower into a sensuous symbol: “moist pink tongue, poisonous beauty, come here.” Winters often explores intimacy in terms of unusual experiences expressed in language that is infused with imagery: “Nefertiti’s red-painted toes;” “she slips into a Koi pond, her breasts brush against the lily pads, dragonflies buzz.”
Intrigue begins in the title poem “Do Not Touch,” alluding to a museum sign posted above priceless artifacts. But her male companion touches everything in the museum, “You stroked the marble effigy of Margaret Butler, caressed her closed eyes, her cheeks her hair.” The drama of the section opens to “and then you touched me.”
Section II explores tender insights into Winters’ family history and non-sentimental stories of family loss. Her poems are skillfully crafted, forthright and grounded in clarity, eschewing gimmickry and flamboyance. Winters has a keen eye for the natural landscape and everything in it, imbuing her poems with vivid imagery. In “Under the Moon” (nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize), “My daddy built the out-of-house for us, whitewashed the walls, cut a star in the door. . .When I pee to the glinting stars’ tune, I know my daddy was the man-in-the-moon.”
Do Not Touch
You ran your fingers around the stones of the ice house
that stored salmon caught in the Blackwater.
You pulled the Mont Freesia to your face, smelled the blossoms.
In Kilkenny castle you brushed your hands over the antique table,
pressed the silk wallpaper, a rich embossed green,
picked up a silver knife from the place setting, felt its heft.
Hands on the glass cabinet as if you could reach into the past,
you studied a photo. Gosh isn’t that amazing, you said.
In Saint Canice’s Cathedral, you traced the circle
of the medieval font, dipped your hands in the holy water,
stroked the effigy of Margaret Butler,
caressed her closed eyes, her cheeks, her hair,
a slight smile on her lips, as if she were your lover,
her hands folded in prayer. And then you touched me.
Listen to Sandra read her title poem Do Not Touch