The Blue Door
It was a framed reproduction, but even as that,
an extravagance for my parents, for whom spending
was always impeccably measured, and The Blue Door
was only as big as was needed for a small space
over the desk where my mother jotted expenses
into her cheap spiral notebooks. I didn’t care about it
as a boy, or much more as a young man, but it’s
a picture which in memory I love. There are times
I imagine myself in her chair, on her corduroy
cushion, looking up into those blues. That picture’s
been gone for twenty or more years, possibly sold
at the garage sale when my mother, my sister and I
emptied the house, Mother by then on oxygen,
seated behind a card table, re-counting the change
in a tin box, slipping the bigger bills into her
apron, plastic tube trailing back into the kitchen.
Raymond Wintz was the artist. An oil of a seaside
interior, with a plain wooden table and chair,
and on a narrow shelf under a window a vase
with a bouquet of blowsy red flowers. It featured
a sea-weathered, chalky blue door that stood open,
with a harbour of warmer blues down and beyond.
On the table was an open notebook and pencil.
The chair had its back turned to the window,
as if the person who’d been sitting there hadn’t
wanted to be distracted but had since gotten up,
and, taking the arm of our mother, had helped her
to make her way down the bright steps to the sea.
Ted Kooser is a former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer winner whe lives in rural Nebraska. His most recent collection of poems is COTTON CANDY; POEMS DIPPED OUT OF THE AIR from U of NE Press. He is also the author of five children's books from Candlewick Press, the most recent of which is a collaboration with poet Connie Wanek, called MARSHMALLOW CLOUDS; TWO POETS AT PLAY AMONG FIGURES OF SPEECH.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: