The collector’s house is cluttered with art. Picasso reproductions. Chagall in a strange frame of raw cedar. Rare poster art from Poland before the Nazi occupation when children went to the circus. Abstract landscapes of bare trees. The house is as cluttered as the bus that delivers the tourists from America. They arrive jet-lagged and adrift.
The collector makes sure her guests are well fed. She presents three tables filled with the work of her own hands: the cucumber salad with sour cream and dill, the spice bread laced with slivered chestnuts and apples, the slender wraps of chicken and ham. The pressed red wine: floating rubies touching their lips.
The noted art historian is late for his presentation. The tourists mull around the buffet and try to ignore the clock. Their collective circadian rhythms collide with its chimes as they mimic the church bells of Westminster. Or are they St. Michaels? Or, Whittenberg? Or some foreign place where their American voices are silent?
Finally, the end of their long day. The art historian arrives, the food is consumed, the ruby wine glows in their throats. The collector shows them her prized piece: a seated nude, a woman devoid of all possessions except what the viewer imagines (the historian explains). “Really?” asks the widow from Nebraska.
is the author of 12 poetry collections, including Amber Necklace from Gdansk (a finalist for the Ohio Book Award in Poetry; Louisiana State University Press, 2001), The Lake Michigan Mermaid with Anne-Marie Oomen (2019 Michigan Notable Book; Wayne State University Press, 2018), The Elusive Heroine: My Daughter Lost in Magritte (Cervena Barva Press, 2018), Talking Diamonds (New Issues Press, 2009), and Listen to the Landscape (Eerdmans Publishing, 2006). Her most recent poetry book, The Blue Divide, was published in 2021 by New Issues Press.
Ms. Foster’s work has appeared in more than 350 magazines and journals such as The Georgia Review, New American Writing, Nimrod, North American Review, Quarterly West, Paterson Literary Review, Witness, and Verse Daily. Her poems have also been published in anthologies in the U.S. and Great Britain, and translated in Europe. Collaborations with visual artists, musicians, and composers have brought her poetry to new venues and audiences. It has been exhibited in museums and galleries, set to music, produced for the stage, and nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
In 2018 and 2019, Ms. Foster won an Editor’s Choice Award in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Contest sponsored by The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College and Paterson Literary Review. She has been honored with awards from the Arts Foundation of Michigan, ArtServe Michigan, the National Writer’s Voice, and the Academy of American Poets. She is the founder of the Contemporary Writers Series at Aquinas College, and was the first Poet Laureate of Grand Rapids, Michigan (serving from 2003-2005). In 2015, she was honored by the Dyer-Ives Foundation for her poetry and advocacy of the literary arts in Michigan. In the fall of 2019, she was a guest lecturer in contemporary American poetry and literature at the University of Bielsko-Biala in Poland.