Woman Looks into an Eye | Vanessa Zimmer-Powell
Vanessa Zimmer-Powell was born and raised in the New Orleans area. She has lived in Texas most of her adult life, and currently lives in Houston with her husband and four cats. Vanessa has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Texas at Austin. She works as a speech-language pathologist, and enjoys the poetry, art, and dance communities of Houston. Vanessa is regularly featured at Houston’s Words and Art reading program, and was the winner of the 2016 Houston Poetry Fest ekphrastic competition. In 2013 she won a Rick Steve's Haiku Award and received honors at the Austin International Poetry Fest. Her poetry has aired on KTRU, Houston Public Radio, and the Rick Steves radio program. Vanessa’s poetry has been published in the Austin International Poetry Festival anthologies; Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poems; Weekly Avocet; Blue Hole; Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review; Chaffey Review; Copperfield Review; Ekphrasis; Harbinger Asylum; Houston Poetry Fest Anthologies; San Pedro River Review; the Texas Poetry Calendar; Untamable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston; Bearing the Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems. In January of 2018, her poem, “Aquí” will appear in a collaborative collection of ekphrastic poetry and the photography of Jim Bones.
Midnight, the Stars and You
after viewing, Thorsten Brinkermann’s installation, The Great Cape Rinderhorn
At midnight, I wear mother’s discarded
gown and mildewed silver slippers.
Her closet is vast, empty.
Her years of clothes
are my layers
peeled back, rearranged, placed neatly
or thrown into tunnels
of princess fantasies, pink cakes
fissures and folds. The brain is
always working, always in charge.
It stores objects, creates catalogues, purchases.
It is a factory.
Once I thought I was my brain’s master,
but now I am its visitor.
I travel through its corridors, swim through holes
into its naughty places, collect material
that fits its patterns. My eyes do its bidding—
search like a detective.
There’s a song that my brain is playing.
I turn off the record, but it is still there,
lives in the stained wall paper,
in the room where she sang to me
when I was born.