KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 11: Spring 2019
Ekphrastic Prose Poem: 200 words

January River

by Lorette C. Luzajic
—After Still Life With Two Lemons by Pieter Claesz

You didn’t say much, so I did all the talking. Chattering about my library books or the clues I’d found in the hollow of the dead tree that bridged the creek with your yard. You would wash the dishes, I would dry, and then we would have tea. Black, with a splash of citrus. I loved the flush of youth still round on your leather cheeks, and I loved the old blue and white cups we sipped from. While we waited for the water to boil, I would stand in the corridor and get lost in the Dutch still lifes, reproductions framed in dirty yellow gilt. Like the drapery in winter at the lighthouse, the paintings were heavy and distant, but I was drawn to them. They all said there was more buried in you than was gone in that winter river. I waded through the cracking paint and grime to reach for a bruised apple or a pocket watch in the fading light. I understood that the details of your silence were hidden here, among ruddy crustaceans, skinned lemons, the thin curly rind, ribbon as delicate as paper.


Still Life With Two Lemons: painting by Pieter Claesz, Netherlands (1629)

Publisher’s Note:

The original oil-on-panel painting Still Life With Two Lemons (1629), by Pieter Claesz (ca. 1597–1661), is held by the Cleveland Museum of Art. The reproduction above was downloaded from Sister Wendy’s American Collection at PBS dot org.


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