Reflecting On Pierre Bonnard’s Bathtub Woman

by Melissa Houghton

I put down the earphones,
Sit on the bench, lean back,
Make my own caption:
Is she sleeping or dead?

A toe goes first, rippling
A disturbance in the water,
A disturbance in this piece
Despite the pointed toe, the
Elegant extension.

The thick shades of blue
Overlap the woman in the tub.
Too bashful to be delirious,
She waits for the painter who
Waits, in his own way, too,
For the painter.

Bonnard arrives,
Memories brush aside.
Candles or citrus soaps
Make me question if she’s relishing
The effect of the water
Floating on her body.

Her cool, blue hue extends
Into the room,
Awakening his memory
When he sits down solitary

To paint her in the porcelain tub.

When you sit down solitary,
Awakening your memory
Into the room,
Her cool, blue hue extends,

Floats on your body.
The effect of the water
You no longer question.
Candles or citrus soaps.
Memories brush aside.
You arrive

For the painter
Who, in his own way, too
Waits for you.
Too bashful to be delirious,
Overlap the woman in the tub with
The thick shades of blue,
An elegant extension

Despite her crooked toe,
Disturbs your sense of peace.
A disturbance in the water.
A mind goes first, rippling.

Is she sleeping or dead?
The caption eludes you.
Sit on the bench, lean back
As you put down the earphones

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Filed under Issue 3, Poetry

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