Still Life with Apples, 1895-1898
The Museum of Modern Art
The table tilts, the bowl’s lopsided, the
pitcher’s leaning for a fall: Cézanne’s
still life, unstill. Inheritor of calm Dutch
oysters and flowers, English pheasants
and dead hanging hare, yet he didn’t finish
dashing the ochre into the corner, left,
or filling the blue tablecloth’s patches.
The apples are teetering, too, tender red
skins about to bruise, anxious for Mme.
Cézanne’s steadying hand… And we,
the gazers at the gallery, are
the guests in the adjacent room,
hearing this roll of nervous fruit, table rocking -
and afraid to enter - meet the trembling
tail of the 19th century, the rumbling snout
of the 20th barging through the door,
the kitchen floor boards shaking and
Jill Solnicki has two published collections of poetry: This Mortal Coil and The Fabric of Skin (Penumbra Press), as well as a published memoir of teaching at-risk kids: The Real Me is Gonna be a Shock: a Year in the Life of a Front-line Teacher (Lester Publishing Ltd.). Her poetry has appeared in a number of journals: pending publications for 2023 include poems in The New Quarterly, and Plath Profiles.
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