COUPLES

Concentrated in a finger
all the expectation of her wedding day,

Hopper, how well you’ve caught this woman,
her husband and the room

silent, but for the rustle
of a newspaper as the breeze - hot

in darkening sky-
disturbs it. Her husband’s

buttoned up in suit and tie,
his jaws clamped

hard as the city heat.
I can’t explain why her red dress -

its softly sculptured neck
and arms bare length -

do not invite. Nor why
her perfume - once like hyacinths -

cloys and stifles. Has he forgotten - 
though it shines

like damask in the light-
her hair’s silky feel 

between his fingers
the first night he’d dared

to touch her anywhere?
Above this picture

someone has written: Hopper - a romantic
though other rarely

measure up to one’s ideal. Here their painted
predicament:evening sulks,

she flirts with piano keys
and, as he turns over The New York Times

her finger slips
to a lower  note - discordant.

 

 
 

ARKANSAS IN MARCH

Here things are slow colours:

ponderous red a truck starts, stalls.
A cat slinks black, lovers are a blue

amble of jeans. Sun
dissolves into the day’s yellow drowse.

Here an event
is someone seen on a sidewalk, his wood house as slumberous

green as coned fir trees. Above, a hawk is a recumbent brown,
on its wing-spanned breeze.

In an indolence of afternoon
clouds crawl

like words on the tongue’s indigenous southern drawl.
Here colours yawn the movement of things,

light is languorous
the rain greys down.