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For Nocturne, Whistler

Stuart Greenhouse

drew on stone to give his light the texture
of absence: the fisherman,
bent over
his pencil-narrow boat
is a stroke left clean, the surrounding shimmer
his shadow: I don’t mean
that smudged thing at the center he draws his net through
with the habitual precision any
man used to solitude will recognize: I mean
the way his figure bent over its edge
is somberly gray, barely
defined, no pride of place or spine,
his head
a spent bubble sunk
mid-chest, lost
to the late-light bloom around.
This light, his shadow,
was young the promise
his memories would remember
him. It frames him, defines him,
his soggy head
intent to where he draws
an invisible net
out of the deep
which is uniform under the lithograph’s variations,
which is stone inside.

Stuart Greenhouse

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