Pastorals in the Atrium's image
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The tour has only started when

I’m ambushed by that flat-lined verdigris I’d know even

as a stumbling sleepwalker: landschap

with tin river, cleaver of sodden pastures — 

marvelous for painters,

says the docent, was the enormity

of the sky, rarely cloudless, and she’s already

turning to an Italian hillscape when I say wait! this is

my bloodstream, as my finger makes brief

unintended contact with the canvas,

and then my voice an ambulance

I tell her there should be a diagram

to indicate the grazing motion,

how the grinding molars of the Holsteins

make the river go — 

or else, self-portrait

in the glassing-over eye

of a stickleback caged in a jam jar,

left too long in the sun — 

but now the river is across the room because

the docent has ushered me toward an upholstered bench

and is murmuring, sit, sit, I have here from the staff room

a coffee, here you are — 

and I’m making the gesture for

no, those fields I ate and was made of

live in me, uncloseable


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