The Poet

He stares at nothing while he waits
for another cup of coffee—the waitress

has no idea he’s regretting an em dash
in the first quatrain of his most recent poem,

the one about the time he stood
on a stool next to his mother, his cheek 

touching the cool skin of her arm 
as she deftly pulls flour into egg yolk, stirs 

with her fingers and kneads the dough 
then rolls it through the press—

parchment thin—and how it glows when she
holds it up to the window where the red

bougainvillea sway—in nearly the same 
manner he walked through the doorway today,

faltering, the moment he remembered how
that same shade of red had matched

the color of his small shoes—
and her lips.


“The Poet,” by Gwendolyn Soper. After Lily Prigioniero’s painting by the same title.

Source: The Ekphrastic Review, August 2021

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