Claude Monet, Argenteuil, 1875

It was a lot of things.

It was the algae blooms swimming against the tide.

It was the convent of masts, making partial signs of the cross across the sky’s chest.

The eyes & brow suspended in clouds passing.

You could almost feel the dew on the nose

of the bows


                                                                              I know the sun,

tinged red, sat somewhere above the blue, burning
into the day.


It was a thousand miles ago,
& now I can only imagine
those deep December nights in Ohio.
Selling the house. Coming to visit you, frail
& fevered pressing your cold hands together & together
watching the dancers across the street
in the one room studio.

Each night, the same couple
curving over the hardwood, knees bent      bending
lead & follow, chest to chest, smooth
                                                                                      then slow          slow.

I think of the night you whispered
how you wanted just one more
summer. Just one more chance to see the geese
floating through the ravine. The deer
in the middle of the rain-kissed leaves.

The tiny Monet postcard in white frame on the nightstand.
“I’d like to go there,” you said. Your hand crumpling
around a tissue.


Calls were made. Come now.
Come get your goodbyes. Come touch
each light blue bead of the rosary with us,
passing it gently
through the calm of our fingers.


That night,
I stepped outside onto the wet black brick of the patio,
blew smoke
                     under the glow of the yellow bulb & noticed him

across the street, locking the front door of the studio.
                                                                                                                          He turned,
looked me in the eyes
offered a short nod as I stood
still as a fawn
scarved in the steam of its own breath.

The snow staring back into us
like white on a cloud.

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