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The Secret World of Brush Strokes

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(Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,
A painting by Georges Seurat)

A sunlit afternoon
Right after lunch,
Dogs scamper across
Earthy green tones
Scrounging for leftover scraps
A kind soul may have dropped.

Now the woman sweats in the heavy purple skirt that no doubt
Urged her to dig out her old parasol
To offer her the refuge of shade
Even underneath the already-cool blanket of shadows,
That the tall trees, stiff as soldiers, kindly offer.

The old man reclining on the grass
Relaxes with his pipe
Smoking, but he’s half-asleep
Until his aching old joints protest the awkward
Position.

His daughter works daintily on her needlework beside him
And watches her beau out of the corners of her eyes
With a blush on her face
That the shadow of her hat hides just right.
He sits beside her, twirling his cane between his fingers,
Smooth and polished, ever the epitome of grace.
Gazing out over the water,
He bites back a flirty grin, well aware her father
Is right there!

The child in the white sundress would have preferred
To stay home today
And build castles out of sticks
And dance in the small field in her backyard
Before the summer sun summons the bees
To drive the humans away.
Her mother needed to get out of the house
And away from the oppressive silence
So she pulled the closest fine petticoat from her closet and
Shuffled the child out the door,
Not realizing the color of her parasol
Clashes with her top.
She pretends not to care.

The woman by the banks
Idly takes a reed within her long pianist fingers,
Stirring the water
Searching for something to discover;
A frog chirping from under a lilypad?
A school of tadpoles swimming timidly by?
A dragonfly taking a momentary rest
On a patch of reeds?
She’s a curious person, and the world
Is hers to explore.

Her friend, much more sensible, is holding the pianist’s
Parasol, because the pianist would forget her head if it
Wasn’t attached,
And the friend doesn’t bother to hold back a grin of amusement
While the pianist chatters on about nothing and everything.





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