Posts Tagged ‘museum’

General Admission

Today I walk through the house
as if it is the museum of my life,
a temporary exhibit.
I notice the flower bouquet made of Legos,
the upright studio black lacquer piano,
a life-size cardboard cutout of Queen Elizabeth
wearing a fetching amethyst dress,
a matching hat and short white gloves.
At least a dozen paintings and sculptures of nudes.
So many skeins of unknit yarn.
A bottle of oud perfume.
And so many books. The imaginary docent
suggests not all the titles have been read,
but all the books are fiercely loved.
I notice there’s not an interpretive panel
explaining the candles on the counter,
but I know they are there to be lit
each time someone shares
the wounds of their heart.
It’s strange to see my existence
as a collection of artifacts
displayed amongst the artifacts
of my husband, daughter and son.
How interconnected they are.
I notice all the stories they don’t tell,
notice all the secrets they don’t share,
notice what objects can never convey.
I wander the rooms, growing more
and more curious about what can’t be known.
I vow to keep living into that.

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            on seeing The Lovers by Pablo Picasso when I was sixteen

Perhaps because I was in love

I fell in love with The Lovers

fell in love with the way

the man held the woman from behind.

Fell in love with his red,

with her yellow and green.

Fell in love with his gaze,

with the tilt of her head.

I knew what it was like

to be that woman.

Even now, looking

at the painting in pixels,

not in oil on linen,

I feel it—the harmony

of the blue sky behind them,

a sky somehow boundless

inside of them, too.

Thirty years later,

I’m still charged with that blue.

And whatever it is

that forces the woman

to look beyond the frame,

I remember that, too.

It’s as if she can’t quite see

what’s about to happen,

so with one hand,

she holds on to her lover.

With the other, she reaches,

or is she holding herself?

And here’s what I grasp

that she doesn’t yet know—

how hard it will be, how hard

it will be to let go.

The Lovers by Pablo Picasso

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it was never meant to last,

this life, though we tell ourselves

we’re different, though we tell

ourselves we matter. But the planet

is patient. And the sky is older than that.

The bones in the exhibit hall are proof.


Still, as I drive the seven hours to home,

I am careful to stay in my lane,

careful to miss the dead lump of what once

was a bird, to use my turn signal,

to wave thanks at the truck driver

who let me into the flow.


It may not go on forever, but

for now there is this chance

to learn about communion.

There is this chance

to see just how generous

we can be with these drying bones.

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