I thought I would write a novel
about the window with its shadow
set in the two-story house.
Cézanne stands at the sunchoke hedge,
alone and licking a brush
among the tree’s traces of changing shade.
The woman—I named her
and almost saw her—could be
flapping a pillowcase at the shutter
as though fanning a fire
that takes the frame by its walls.
Then, inside, a web-stitch quilt
pulls across a poster bed.
The house would be preparing
for wedding guests, Lacroix in the garden
spading a strawberry plant
to move the woolen roots.
Did Cézanne have nothing
to do with the people
he kept within the roof?—a flat red slant
marked by the slash of branches.
There is a close mess of buttered brushstrokes.
The house set back in dashes of leaves—
a perplexing green—guards a
shadow that could almost come
to memory, the window empty.
I was going to write about a crescent
of honeydew melon. An artist told me
she paints grids when she isn’t
certain how to begin. A grid of steel
stores nuclear fuel below the surface
of pools in temporary rooms
with red railings. I glanced at one image,
then checked my email, my nightshade
tank top wet against the dip in my spine
you might like to touch
and say, Stop. Have a glass of water.
There once was a structure three-stories tall
built on an island Japan surrendered.
This building was a bomb.
At its center, liquid hydrogen filled a thermos.
We nicknamed it after an angel
appearing in the Bible, the Torah, and the Qur’an.
Or maybe the name could have come
from a football player of the Fifties
we might remember on Trivia Night.
I think how hammers strike the thinnest
wires inside a piano. Hard.
Once, we evacuated the coral shore
my grandfather flew over
in a B-17—the typed label of his photo
half torn. The Department of the Interior
Master Plan shows where the people will live.
I swallow vomit after watching
the island wart into an orange bulb. Just before,
birds glanced off the shimmering water.