Still Life after seeing DaVinci’s Study of Violets & Welding Methods
The twin reading lamps behind the hotel room bed
are imitation Ming vases – green and decorated with
white curving plumes. Their half shades reflect the light back
onto the wood paneling behind the bed. The bed spread too
with a pattern made of small white geometrical figures.
Two white pillows are propped up against the pink bolster.
Judith’s head rests on one – her abandoned book split
apart into a triangle on her belly. I see her foreshortened
like one of those pictures of Christ’s body being ministered to
after the crucifixion. Her black stockinged feet, so huge
in this perspective, give a slight wiggle. There is a small
snore in the air. I had intended to sit in a street café and write
of the passing show, but is not this nap, seen this way,
as interesting as a swarm of Vespas in the street, even the one
carrying a man with a cigarette on his lip, a telephone
in his ear, being steered by one careless hand?
Nils Peterson is Professor Emeritus in English at San Jose State University. In 2009, he was chosen the first Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County. He has published poetry, science fiction, and articles on subjects as varied as golf and Shakespeare. In 2019, he was honored by SV Creates for his work as poet and teacher as the OnPage Laureate of the Year.
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