After Andrew Wyeth’s “Groundhog Day”
The painter who wanders your house night and day,
sketches his way in and out your back door,
kitchen, barn, and milking room, he’s erased all trace
of you. Look, your favorite tea cup, the one
that’s snug to the curl of your forefinger, even that’s gone
bleached white as moths, something a dream tossed back.
The print has disappeared from the china rim—no more
apple bloom or trumpet vine vining a smooth weave.
No gray green, salt blue, faint as any wave
glimpsed from distance. Day after day
he paints you and the dog sleeping—shut eye, wolfish
set to his jaw—then the bunchbacked skittery quick.
But in the end, the dog disappears as you do.
Cup, knife, plate. His fangs menace from the rough-cut
log beyond the open window. And you? Are you the strip
of light glancing the wall, obstinate refusal to quit
or give in? It was your hands set the table, raked the grate,
chopped firewood far side of the pines. Is it your quiet
the painter caught? The long slow place before the scrape
of a gate lifts from its hinges and your husband strides in
fresh from New Holland, rushed talk of horses, calves, and tractor
gusts the room like an unseen wind, settles to the porcelain
chink and domestic sing of knife on a dinner plate.
Copyright © 2013 Catherine Staples. “Anna Kuerner” was published in The Rattling Window (The Ashland Poetry Press, 2013). Used with permission of the author.