Petals and Garden of Nymph Ancolie
A friend and I attend the exhibition
at The Menil. The Max Ernst mural
served as backdrop to the dance floor
of a Zurich nightclub, 1934–smoky room
with zebra-striped upholstery,
jazz band, stylish dancers
gliding across the polished floor.
In the painting, a bloom suggests
the head of a heron.
Tendrils of exotic flowers–vibrant red,
orange–curl between four-fingered hands.
Curve of a woman’s leg lazing against
a shapely pool of blue.
Plant, animal, human entwined.
Playful, strange and pleasurable.
I mention a contemporary artist whose exhibit
I've just seen twice. My friend smiles.
She'd seen it, too.
We discuss the significance of birds
in both men’s work, the political undertones.
She lowers her voice and tells me–
years before, she and the artist were lovers.
She speaks of art, but I want to hear more
of life. At dinner, she promises.
Outside, absorbed in her revelation,
I rummage for my car keys. Look, she says.
Dusk has brought a fine mist to settle in the grass
and low limbs of the live oaks
while above, the air is clear–as though
we’ve stepped into two halves of a world.
Fog silhouettes a couple strolling,
a man tossing a stick to a dog,
and one of those birds I’ve seen here before–
a yellow-crowned night heron.
The bird seems here by design. How perfectly
its elegance and colours–grey, black, white–
complement the museum.
The delight of one thing playing off another.
Later, over a glass of wine, she tells the story
while I picture her younger,
dashing to his studio in a cab in Manhattan
(so very New York, she says).
I’m seduced by her daring,
the delicious interlude.
Laura Quinn Guidry
Laura Quinn Guidry grew up in New Orleans and currently lives in Carmine, Texas. Her poetry has been published in The San Antonio Express-News; journals including Louisiana Literature and The Texas Review, and in anthologies including In These Latitudes: Ten Contemporary Poets. Her first full-length volume of poetry Between Two Gardens was published by Alamo Bay Press in 2017.
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