Edward Hopper, Sunday (1926)
It's after church when I view him sitting
on the curb of an old-fashioned
wood plank sidewalk,
leaning forward, resting his arms on his knees,
cigar clamped in his teeth, its tip unlit,
its cold ragged head soggy with spit,
he's gazing into the distance, eyes unfocused and blank,
sensing—not knowing—that something,
something is missing.
Bright sun beats the top of his balding head,
whitening one side of his face,
leaving the other side dark.
He's wearing his work clothes, his not-Sunday-best clothes,
the sleeves of his white shirt held up by elastic red bands;
black vest, black pants, brown shoes. A waiter, perhaps,
or a barber. But the storefronts behind him are missing
any ads for today's blue-plate specials, missing
a red and white candy-striped pole.
Is he missing the tools of his trade?
His revolving, adjustable, strop-hung chair? His shelf
full of brushes and scents, precursors of Boss and Old Spice?
Or does he miss in that sharp angled light from above
a rainbow of hope sung by angels with lyres
through windows of medieval glass?
Sunday, what's missing
from his life
Gerry Hendershot, 82, is a new poet (and retired health statistician), active in many poetry writing and discussion groups near to and far from his home in University Park, Maryland. He has pioneered the use of poetry to illuminate scripture in many churches, and is developing an adult course with an art historian on theology, poetry, and art. His poems are under review by Image Journal, Round Table Literary Journal, Cathexis Northwest Press, Better than Starbucks, and Able Muse.
The Ekphrastic Review
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