Under the Lamp by Marie Bracquemond, 1887
Green lamp hangs low, close to the couple’s heads. They sit at a table covered with white embossed cloth, a stack of ten plates, cruets of vinegar & oil, two corked wine bottles, crystal dish of carrots, gravy boat, unlidded soup tureen—steam meets a spill of lamplight.
He blends into the muddled brown background of a massive china hutch, but his illumined face floats.
She wears a striped, fitted dress lace-collared and cuffed. Her hand rests near a hunk of crusty bread. Vivid light outlines the curve of her shoulder. Silhouetted, she stares into the distance.
He gazes directly at her, searching.
Did he ask a question that lingers between them? Is she deciding how to answer words she never expected?
Karen George is author of three poetry collections from Dos Madres Press: Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and Where Wind Tastes Like Pears (2021). She won Slippery Elm’s 2022 Poetry Contest, and her short story collection, How We Fracture, which won the Rosemary Daniell Fiction Prize, is forthcoming from Minerva Rising Press in Spring 2023. After 25 years as a computer programmer/analyst, she retired to write full-time. She enjoys photography and visiting museums, cemeteries, historic towns, gardens, and bodies of water. Her website is: https://karenlgeorge.blogspot.com/.
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