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 yolks, 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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