Patricia Dienstfrey was born in Montreal, Canada, and lives in Berkeley, California, where she has worked as a small press printer and publisher. "The Veil" appears in her second book of poems, Small Salvations, Kelsey St. Press, Berkeley, Fall 1987.
Working Notes, Patricia Dienstfrey:
"The Veil" begins at the moment a girl on the brink of adolescence sees her mother about to go into a house as a future the girl can refuse. The way of writing came from the image of my mother's face in the veil, images within images, overlays of flesh (sweet) and material (see-through, mysterious, untrustworthy). Each became like the other and extended to all she touched and cared for in the house, where, culturally, she lost face maintaining the objects of civilization and life itself. The form is overlaid, repetitive and capable of soaking up emotions until drenched, almost stifling--a snapshot of a story-telling form I took from my memory of overlays of presence and absence.