Van Gogh's Bed, by Reshma Ruia
Van Gogh’s Bed
Saint-Paul Asylum, Saint-Rémy
The irises have gone.
Blue petals ripped by the mistral.
Swept over the vineyards.
The golden blur of the rolling fields.
The lavender is also gone.
Dry stalks like origami, the shade of Parker ink.
Inside your room the tourists pause,
mobiles in hand.
This is no time for selfies or dinner plans.
They circle your bed, saucer-eyed in disbelief.
‘To think his paintings go for a million bucks!’
The stage whispers are loud.
Don’t let them disturb your sleep.
Your bed is a pauper’s bed-sagging mattress.
Rusty metal frame, too narrow and small
for your thrashing limbs.
And your big head - a honeycomb of bones and headaches and visions too.
Swirly trees, shooting stars, the purple mole
on a young woman’s clavicle.
You prefer to keep them to yourself.
You lay this head down each night,
turning towards the square window
through which flutters
the cobalt handkerchief of the sky.
This poem was first published in Reshma's book, A Dinner Party in the Home Counties (Skylark Publications.)
Reshma Ruia: "I am an author and poet based in Manchester. My first novel, Something Black in the Lentil Soup, was described in the Sunday Times as ‘a gem of straight-faced comedy.’ My second novel manuscript, A Mouthful of Silence, was shortlisted for the 2014 SI Leeds Literary Prize. My short stories and poems have appeared in various British and International anthologies and magazines and commissioned for BBC Radio 4. My debut collection of poetry, A Dinner Party in the Home Counties, won the 2019 Debut Word Masala Award. I am the co-founder of The Whole Kahani-a writers’ collective of British South Asian writers. Born in India and brought up in Italy, my writing portrays the inherent preoccupations of those who possess a multiple sense of belonging."
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