February 4

I like best the paintings without glass,
so you can get really close to them,
without touching, of course, because
how dare you put your hands
where theirs once were, you aren’t
worthy of even standing here, really,
but you bought the ticket, so
I’ll let you in, and here you can see
each individual brush stroke, you
can see the mood the artist
was in that day, whether his
brush strokes were long
and relaxed or short, almost
stabbing. Even the calmest river
can seem foreboding if the brush strokes
are wrong. Or not wrong, exactly, but
different, not fitting the way you think
the painting should go, but you’re
locked in, you can’t change its
destiny, you can only follow the curve
of the fruit and the shimmering
white of the light on its skin,
almost gilded but really
nothing more than the absence
of color.