Today's poem is by Wayne Miller


You were the vanishing point
where the painting pinched shut.

I stood before it for months.
People came and went behind me—

sometimes they bumped into me,
their voices flashing like mirrors.

The skylights lifted and lowered
the room as though on a pulley,

your assemblage of colors
dipped with each passage of clouds.

When, finally, I turned away,
there was still the long walk out

through those marble halls,
past thousands of paintings

lined up so perfectly their details—
their emanations—disappeared

into their collective symmetry.
The building was empty. My steps

echoed outward from my core
to be caught by the canvases,

the tapestries, the drapes
and cushioned benches

along the balustrade. The guard
in the arched entranceway

nodded vaguely, held there
by his flickering screens. Then

I was out on the street.
It must have just rained—the trees

in the arbor were heavy and slick,
the pavement stained.

And all the cafés were mottled
with people, conversations filling

the air between them. I was thirsty,
I realized, lonely and ravenous.

Copyright © 2016 Wayne Miller All rights reserved
from Post-
Milkweed Editions
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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