Geologic or Painterly Stasis
by William Doreski
The steel-gray morning looks grim.
I could strip it, nail the hide
to the side of the barn. No barn,
though, only the blank back wall
of my garage. Not large enough
to accommodate a cosmic grin
of such amplitude. Yesterday
when you stared so blankly I felt,
despite the people around us,
adrift in a Luminist seascape--
water and light and massive sky
chiming in a varnished silence.
I don’t know what you were thinking,
but the muddy brown of your gaze
cooled like a crust and I feared
I’d remain adrift for eons
of geologic or painterly
stasis, until the nova sun
absorbed whatever remained.
The spell broke. You walked away
without a backward glance. The crowd
scattered, leaving scraps of paper
scrawled with useless notes. Meetings
always end with a shudder
of insult, but yesterday’s featured
that imposition of silence
you’d never imposed on me before.
Now the morning looks too tough
for Martin Johnson Heade or John
Kensett to depict. No palette
holds such drab. You won’t notice
this formal absence, your attention
focused on your books and breakfast
dose of vodka, your sienna gaze
exploring a private sublime.