Room in New York, 1932 – After Edward Hopper

Ekphrastic Poetry

Her dress is red.
Her bare arms white as sour cream.
Her hair is malt and softly looped
behind the long arc of her pale neck.
In the half-shadows she scans the page
of her book, her face the colour
of bruised plums, then sighs and turns
towards the lamp which has a shade
the same faded red as her dress.

His shirt is white.
His buttoned waistcoat and knotted tie
are black. He has taken off his jacket
in the heat and opened the window
onto the sticky night.
He sits in a pink velvet chair,
his face inclined towards his newspaper
as sometimes he might incline it
towards a kiss.

Their bowed heads form a diagonal
across the room.
though her chin is tilted to the right
and his to the left.
There is nothing between them
except a small round Maplewood table
set with a lace cloth, The table is polished.
and shimmers like a lake.
But it is not a lake.
It is simply a table that sits
between them, just as the walls,
which are yellow as illness
are just walls.

Somewhere down the hall
A door slams.

From Ghost Station
Published by Salt 2004

Edward Hopper, Room in New York, 1932

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