• andrew jeter

The Pastoral

There’s this paint-by-number,

large and imposing, that my husband

bought from an antique dealer

because he collects such things

that are pastoral.

It has hung on my side of

our bedroom for years—

a petrified portrayal of a stream and barn

among the trees—

so I see it every morning and every night,

first and last window I look through.

Sometimes I am sure it is of a farm

in autumn, the leaves turning and falling

into a brook that winds past

a barn

and other times I think it is spring,

when the brook babbles with the

runoff of a long winter cooped up

in rigor

below marcescent trees.

The canvas is sagging at the top,

pulling from the frame, so that

the image seems swept up

in cataclysmic waves, roiling

as I pull myself erect each morning

and lay myself down at the end.

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