Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Molly Fisk: Washington Square — New York, 1941

When Edward Hopper finishes his painting for the night,

sets the boar bristles to soak in turpentine, wipes the thick

not-yet-crusted-over drips from his smock with a blue rag

and tips his palette up to incubate tomorrow’s luck,

 

he isn’t thinking of the greenish light from a street lamp,

how it hits plate glass and fractures through it, or the counter’s

corner in an all-night city diner. Most of the time

he is just hungry, already smelling the stew his wife

 

likes to make from white beans and bacon. His eyes lose focus,

and his other senses — so long ignored in deference

to saturated color — come alive, more vivid now

because of their confinement. How clear the little click as

 

the lamp’s wick sinks below its silver mouth, scritch of bootheels

on the tile stair when he descends. He inhales the evening,

the butcher’s bloody work, stale malt that drifts from a window.

The snowy world receives him: flakes melt and run down his cheeks.


 

Copyright 2010 Molly Fisk. Winner of the Dogwood Prize, originally published in Dogwoodfrom The More Difficult Beauty by Molly Fisk

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Edward Hopper “Nighthawks” (1942)

2 comments on “Molly Fisk: Washington Square — New York, 1941

  1. Gerald Fleming
    August 29, 2017

    Fine, evocative poem–in syllabics, no less!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. anisioluiz2008
    August 25, 2017

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on August 25, 2017 by in Art and Cinema, Poetry and tagged , , .
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