morning-sun title card
Image: Morning Sun (1952) by Edward Hopper. Design © Long Exposure Magazine.

Matthew E. Henry draws inspiration from Edward Hopper’s 1952 painting Morning Sun for this new poem.

After Morning Sun by Edward Hopper (Oil on canvas, 1952)

‘daylight is nobody’s friend’ – Anne Sexton

her story is plain as his blush-smudged collar.
familiar as her ruddy jaw clenched around
the truth he thinks hidden. we know the strand
found slithering across his sleeve did not stray
from her careless bun— the reason she stares
between rays of light behind a glassless window.

he will come through the door we cannot see,
kiss her cheek, pat her ass. he will return
with an honest smile, expect her pink slip
to melt beneath his touch. but as he enters her
frame, will she hold her breath, pretend— once
again— to be more than his selection part-time?

for now stained sheets—washed and returned
to creased corners— scream beneath bloodless legs,
bound at fetal angles. we can’t see what rests behind
her left elbow, beside her unseen, growing thigh—
the totem of the secret she holds within, the choice
she must make over his one true desire.

MEH is Matthew E. Henry, a Pushcart Nominee with works appearing or forthcoming in various publications, including 3 Elements Review, The Ekphrastic Review, Longleaf Review, Poetry East, Relief Journal, and Rock and Sling. MEH is an educator who received his MFA from Seattle Pacific University, yet continued to spend money he didn’t have pursuing a MA in theology and a PhD in education.