“One striking aspect of The Goldfinch is the simplicity, even austerity, of the composition.
Yes, the bird is chained –a detail which meant that, in other Dutch paintings,
they could be symbols of captive love.”
Alistair Sooke, BBC 2016
When Mom died the sunflowers climbed out of her eyes and into mine.
The bits of green earth that spackled her irises
softly sunk the flower’s roots into my muddy sockets.
Ever since, I sense more clearly the evolution of a thing,
particularly this morning, when I heard a bird call outside my window.
Expecting a visit from Mom—by way of a cardinal—I instead spotted a goldfinch
alighted on a coneflower, which at first reminded me of the callousness of Fabritius’s painting.
But this bird’s pale feet pogoed from coneflower to sunflower then onto a black-eyed Susan,
where it settled hungrily, became medieval with the crown and seeds,
picking and pecking and knocking them loose, so as they fell, they were lit by the sunrise--
a spray of sparks sowing the soil.
The goldfinch shifted, twitched its head to look at me and generously decided to linger.
Monica Kaiser is a poet and tree hugger, and the author of Still Sifting (1996, Mellen Poetry Press). She has just finished an MFA in creative writing from Kent State University and lives with her partner, their son, rabbits, and her dad.
The Ekphrastic Review
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