Rembrandt’s House

He has fallen asleep in this bright room.
I wish again I were a painter, as I did in Deerfield

when we looked out over red-gold hills, wide river,
and Anita talked of rare foxes coming to the cottage.

I have seen my daughter in her first communion dress,
house full of lilacs, my husband and children

knee-deep in garden, overcome by all the orange pumpkins.
Now my brother lies in sunlight,

tallest man in the world resting like a baby
in a golden square. Big laugh, outrageous humor—

this is the child who shot a hole in the bathtub
with Grandpa’s old gun, lucky that time.

As a young woman, I saw Rembrandt’s self-portrait,
dazzled by the light. Michael was caught

by “Christ with Folded Arms” light pouring
from his sleeve.

Same Mozart measure over and over, to get it
perfect. His hands at the keyboard,

silhouette of the grand piano in twilight.
An artist with a vanishing subject, I watch.

Rembrandt’s house was dark. The light was in his mind.
I want to have the light, paint my brother

laying his long body down on the white couch
hands resting under his face.

Today, looking at red carnations,
I paint still-life, hold fox-fire.

 

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