The label on my suitcase …
… reminds me I do not belong.
Outside, sky darkens over a line
of could-be-anywhere mountains.
Electric light casts shadows around
plain walls, plain carpet, plain curtains;
and the chair with no cushion
where I drop my wrap; perch
on the king-size bed, careful
not to rumple its dull coverlet;
turn sideways from my Buick
parked by the window. Wait.
Anticipate that knock at the door.
(After ‘Western Motel’, Edward Hopper, 1957, Yale University Art Gallery)
You, barely beyond childhood yourself,
with peachy, unlined skin,
delighted with the plump baby in your lap;
teaching him about the scent of flowers,
conversation, play; he,
alert to your every expression.
Prophesies cannot prepare you.
After the lynching, you cradle dead weight
and remember moments like these.
(After La Madonna dei Garofani, Raphael c.1506 National Gallery, London)
Bio: Lesley Burt’s poetry has been published online and in journals such as ‘Tears in the Fence’, ‘The Interpreter’s House’, ‘Sarasvati’, and anthologies compiled by Hurricane Press and Cinnamon Press. She is currently beginning an MA in Creative Writing as a distance learner at Lancaster University. One of her interests in writing is exploring ways in which imagery in poetry relates to images in the visual arts.