David Schuster The 2River View, 9.2 (Winter 2005)
Blue Trees

The year Gauguin completed Blue Trees, Van Gogh lived with him in a yellow house in Arles. The next year Van Gogh committed suicide.

Gauguin shut the sun
tightly in his paint box.
That early winter
with Van Gogh in Arles,
Gauguin parceled the blinding rays
and primed his jute canvas.

There is no other explanation
how an incrementally
weightless shade of blue
cuts a swath
like splattered Solaris
in the ocher foreground
across a tree
that becomes
just light enough
to a young girl
whose fervent desire
is to ram it
mastiff stiff
into the man beneath the shadows
hands thrust in his pockets.
He whispers
Vous y passerez, la belle
Your turn will come, pretty one.

Gauguin secured the lid
lest a single photon escape
and drip into poor Vincent’s
Mobius loop of winter dreams:
Madonna and Child, tabloid murders,
ships at sea.

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