The painter hangs a quince,
sun yellow, dimpled, mottled brown.
Two veined leaves make green mouse ears
as it floats upper left inside
a deep-shadowed box.
A cabbage just below and right,
ribbed big-head bow-knotted at the end
of its own rope, hovers toward the shelf.
The resting melon in the middle,
flesh splayed to offer clustered seeds
at its center cleft.
Crescent melon slice next, upturned
on a green-striped rind. Its shadow
edges the shelf’s lip. Last, the cucumber,
humped and grooved, throws its shadow
off the shelf, outside the canvas toward us.
Two vegetables, two fruits, set
in a box with grey-beige floor. A still life
lacking cutlery or silver plate,
mirrors, goblets or tulips,
nautilus shells or suffocated fish.
Why hang a cabbage, dangle a quince,
to parade a patron’s pelf?
With three spheres, one crescent
and a blunted cylinder, the painter
swings an arc against a plane of darkness
neither table top nor window frame.
But see: the melon’s companion slice
is narrow, the flesh exposed is wide.
Art nourishes: why waste the model?
David P. Miller
David P. Miller’s chapbook, The Afterimages, was published in 2014. His poems have recently appeared in Meat for Tea, Ibbetson Street, Constellations, riverbabble, What Rough Beast, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. A Boston resident, he was a member of the multidisciplinary Mobius Artists Group for 25 years.
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