Van Gogh's Room Poem by Deborah DeNicola

Van Gogh's Room

Everyone's seen it. The wooden foot board
of the bed frame, slanted like the ceiling above

with the painting of a showgirl's golden hair
and his own self-portrait hung from wires.

The little table with blue pitcher and cruets
for vinegar or turpentine, and the mirror

that reflects nothing back. Tabula rasa
in a black frame. No wonder he sliced his ear,

jangled by interruptive smudges like these tan chips
across the sea-green floor. Blue door, closed, walls

with fauvist colors, even the green windows
bleed to a jaundiced yellow and hold no view.

All his monkish possessions in one cell
as if he could like Tarot's Fool step into unstirred

air, dance off a mountain to the tune he alone hears.
Thinking in those wooden chairs. Their straw seats,

inverted Cezanne haystacks, snap at my heartstrings.
But no one Vincent knows is here to share the sunlight

of Arles. Gauguin's already gone, burnt out in the islands
with the bronze Polynesian ladies draped in fuschia

and lime sarongs. He'll lose a leg to gangrene,
forget Vincent completely, die leaving his paintings

and his notebook, never knowing where we're going,
why we're here, from whence we've come

unlike Van Gogh who always knew.
Some never leave a room.

Deborah DeNicola

Deborah DeNicola

Richland, Washington
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