Stacks of Wheat (Chicago Art Institute, 1986)
The sun sets so fast I cannot follow it,
Monet said of his stack of wheat series
paintings of haystacks in snow and sun.
We waited two hours for admission,
the tickets crumby in my purse with cheerios
and goldfish to keep you from getting cranky.
Two years old, young for this.
Twenty-five of Monet’s haystacks
in a dark vaulted room as if the sun
had set prematurely. People had
waited longed enough, nudged, not pushed for
the viewpoint that made the shadows fall
in an arc.
Then you fell asleep in my backpack
your sweaty blonde head against my long brown braid.
After your nap you’d really want to nurse
and being two, you’d look big on my lap
on one of few side benches in this crowded room.
Hayricks and wheat stackings took shape
a hundred years ago like little houses with
pointed roofs the sign said.
Nipples I thought. Erect nipples with brown areolas
and my milk will let down if you begin to cry.
I feel like crying.
The brochure says painting so many is a tour de force,
one after another, from dawn to dusk, with his step daughter fetching
new canvasses as the sun dribbled down.
My feet ache. I hate crowds.
My baby is as good as all these golds
and pinks, and grays and blues and purples,
combined. I need a way out.
We exited Monet’s breadbasket through the small north door.
Just in time you got your milk. That sun set fast enough.
Tricia Knoll, an Oregon poet, has obsessions. Writing poetry every day, working to see them published in numerous journals, a chapbook out called Urban Wild, and a book coming out from Aldrich Press in spring of 2016, Ocean's Laughter. Others? Going to theater, running, tai chi, dancing, growing a native plant garden for pollinators and birds. Coming in doors to write more poetry. www.triciaknoll.com
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