Such determined beauty could make you
want a train station’s exhaust
and noise. After the Monet estate’s lily ponds,
home is a Los Angeles freeway, chain-linked
for twenty miles, overpass tattooed
like a biker’s arm. Give me Carnaval, Boulevard des Capucines.
Such prettiness and order
can cause despair, but painters

leave no place for curling up
in pillows, no lap throw to call your own.
Artists have it all their way, the world
shrunken into their fauve television,
love a smear of blended colors on palettes,
child’s thumbprints you leave
on the canvas when you have no other ideas
and a rag isn’t handy.

Monet’s gardens shone because the morning
gardener boated around the pond
to clean train soot from the water lilies
before the master went out in his boat
to find the lilies, each skirt flounced
flat on the water, mist drifted just apart,
ready as white-stockinged thighs.

Rachel Dacus’s poetry collections are Another Circle of Delight, Femme au chapeau, and Earth Lessons. Her work appears in the anthologies Ravishing DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English (Wesleyan University Press), Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose About Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press), and Letters to the World: Poetry from the Women in Poetry Listserv (Red Hen Press).

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