Distractions, by Margo Davis
viewing Picasso’s Guernica in Museo Reina Sofia, 2018
A long white room where we cluster, hunker, stare overly long
yet not long enough. Few look up to gaze in space. A compact crowd
of tourists not shouting out in mother tongues. No vacant-eyed
tour groups body-blocking the painting with elbows as a guide
drones on. Fluorescent lighting glints a toast, to your fate. I am drawn
to those few who blink. Distress signal, or does this seep in?
How could it not? Disembodied sounds stone-skip across lips
from around distant corners. Accents misunderstood, barely heard.
Expressions I can’t recognize. To walk now would be shallow
or abandonment. Worry lines dig into blank faces. What is this
chaos I find myself witnessing? Horses’ mouths exercise their right
to yawn or grimace. Then one by one each spell is broken.
The mind sieves. One then more wander off. I have freedom
too, staring intently around a shoulder, through a portal provided by
hand on hip. From a doorway, the departed drop what couldn’t
be contained. My shoulders sag, eyes widen as each whispers,
smiles, or complains- it would appear- then pushes off. I suspect each
mind moves on as well. Or am I the one who can’t focus here?
Perhaps this is too painful. Do they simply seek the bano?
Why must I study instead their evaporation? Surely any viewer is cut
to the bone, too. We move forward, all of us, into the past.
Houston retiree Margo Davis is grateful that art and literature are readily available online during this pandemic. Twice nominated for a Pushcart, Margo’s poems have recently appeared in Mockingheart Review, Cordella, Snapdragon, Odes and Elegies: Eco-Poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast; International Contemporary Art Exhibition 2020 in Art Gallery Le Logge, Assisi; and TransCultural Exchange’s Hello World Project. And several times in The Ekphrastic Review, which makes her smile.
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