Light is kin to vapor,
to certain fogs,
and the effervescence of ideas,
yet Edward Hopper’s summer light,
when it comes late in the afternoon,
is solid, opaque,
the color of soft butter,
heavy with heat and remorse,
raking low through the window,
its yellow rectangle
falling across the floor.
The woman is nude,
alone in that block of light,
the shadows of her legs
subtracting thick black lines
behind her, pointing toward the door
not seen through which her lover
departed only a moment ago.
See how the bedcover is rolled down,
the sheets wrinkled,
casually held in her right hand
while she stares absent-mindedly
at the floor as smokers will do between drags,
lost in thought and recollection
and questions of how did it come to this?
Her angular naked body,
no doubt soft and yielding
while in the throes,
has become a rough impasto,
perhaps Hopper’s way
of portraying her authentic self.
Oddly, her left breast
appears to be an afterthought,
forcing her shoulders toward me,
while her hips and eyes
face the window.
Can the human body rotate this way,
clockwise and anticlockwise and clockwise
requiring the oddest skeletal geometry?
My own geometry
is a more modest version
of this torsion,
so perhaps Hopper’s vision
isn’t impossible after all.
Her lover has gone now,
the afternoon’s business done.
They will go their separate ways,
which was the plan all along,