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Sunday, April 12, 2020


by Brooke Herter James

“Parakeet” by Kees van Dongen,ca. 1910, oil on canvas, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Still life  day 28
here in Vermont
a solitary junco
half black
half white
sitting on the branch
half white
half black
against a backdrop of pond
black—rimmed with white—
thank goodness for
the small red barn
in the lower right corner
of the scene

I imagine painting
over this canvas
apple blossoms
puffy clouds   a woman
in the foreground
faded yellow robe
leaning out her second
story window
to hang blue towels
and flowered sheets
on one end of a
never-vanishing cord
that travels from this hillside
to Milan   then Barcelona
Wuhan   Jerusalem   Sydney
Seattle  New Orleans  New York

An endless clothesline
adorned  with the fabric
of the world billowing
outwards   music spilling
from all those unshuttered
windows   wafts of coffee
baked bread   squeals of children
running down hallways
pinging marbles on bare floors
dogs barking
I imagine painting
parakeets in wooden cages
singing while we wait

Brooke Herter James is a poet and children’s book author living in Vermont.