Still Life with Hair, Brush, and Paisley
What could be stiller than frizzy hair
snarled in a brush and juxtaposed
on a rumpled paisley bedspread?
There: all the elements accounted for
since you can’t actually see the oil
in the strands or feel the plastic handle.
You can’t tell if the cloth was stripped
from a nearby window or how cloudy
it is outside that window. You presume
there’s a career in photographing
still lifes but can’t be certain there’s an
ecstatic clientele, one of whom maybe
having already purchased this one and
offering connections to a new gallery
just as the artist begins to grow tired
of arranging random household items
on a contrastingly textured table cloth.
She longs to roam the out-of-doors,
maybe capture falls overflowing
the lip of a granite ledge far from home,
meander back when she wants to,
change subjects abruptly, now focus
on that cloudy sky, now on a neighbor,
his animated arms cradling gladiolas
snipped from his garden. How about
nudes? Her own sepia The Thinker!
Or chronicling the way changing light
changes her own study of water lilies.
She could be reinterpreting the misery
of “wifery,” the serenity of “presence,”
the fate of “creature” in a degrading world.
Or she could simply find a soft seat
in the shade, grab some grapes and trail mix
from her camera case, and imagine what
else she might frame by photographic guile.
D. R. James
This poem was first published at Muddy River Poetry Review.
D. R. James has taught writing, literature, and peace-making at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, for 33 years and lives and writes in the woods east of Saugatuck. His most recent of seven collections are If god were gentle (Dos Madres Press) and the chapbooks Split-Level and Why War (both Finishing Line Press).
The Ekphrastic Review
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