the late fall sunlight as if my life depended on it,
which maybe it does, the end of a difficult year,
horror after horror on the news, my mother’s life
decreasing breath by suffering breath. Too much death
for anyone to take in, and what comes next? The borders
of the world constrict, tighten. France now seems
like an impossible dream, as far away as the stars.
Over there, Renoir’s villagers are still dazzled and dappled
by the sun at the Moulin de la Galette, and petit déjeuner
in a garden of irises or an aperitif of vin rouge and a bowl
of olives under dusty plane trees are still heaven on earth.
Somewhere in Normandy, apple trees bloom, pink and white.
In Provence, hills of ochre are balanced by a sky
of saturated blue. Monet’s water lilies open
and close in the pond at Giverny. I want to step out
of my life into a painting, perhaps Van Gogh’s Café
de la Nuit. There I’ll sit with my glass of absinthe
and a Gaulois bleu, until sweet forgetfulness takes me,
and the troubles of this world dissolve into a thousand
daubs of paint, a blizzard of color and light.