Reni’s Cenci in the Sitting Room
Silent surveyor of a walled world.
An inert postal stamp, I go nowhere.
Since the tall man carried me in, I haven’t said a word.
First, just you and him, budding breaths quickening
the newly-married air.
Then, you, young mother, craning over a swaying crib.
Tropical palm bowed to a swirling sea.
Soon, there are more.
Sometimes I wish I could block my ears from the racket.
Coffee table turns slide, and another, tongue bulging,
Etches her initials in the hidden underside
like some ancient hieroglyph.
In winter, a fire is lit below me-
blazes through the bricks at my back.
Sometimes you sing, plucking me from the crisp canvas
on a palpable breath and I lilt unnoticed,
billowed robes surging the sitting room.
But time hangs curtains of quietude,
Now a crossword half done in a spidery scrawl,
dust on a sheepskin rug.
I miss all the bustle,
And the tall man who brought me in.
I see your solitude, seeping into the cold chasms of the walls,
crawling along the faded carpet, spilling into my gilded frame.
Splitting my flat, rippling heart.
And then a tone soaks the stillness,
sonorously stirring something within these walls.
A dip left in your wing-backed chair.
A sturdy pull of the door handle.
And I hear you restored,
Sifting through the hot press for the spare sheets.
Sarah Kelly is an emerging writer living in west Cork, Ireland. She has had work published in Banshee, as well as the Honest Ulsterman, and is a teacher of English in a local secondary school.
The Ekphrastic Review
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