Everyone in the room is cheering.
This is what you do for a painting you love!
We climb up on one another’s shoulders,
wave pom-poms that match the palette.
We want to buy the season tickets to the train
that huffs through this landscape. We want
to climb the towers of this steely sculpture
and hang the flag. Victory is ours! We have
seen something to love here. Outside the gallery,
there is an alley full of garbage. Beauty stops
at the door. A scraggly tree is coming out
of the pavement where the people are lined
up, cigarettes and cell phones, waiting
for a chance to look. They keep their
giant fingers in their bags. Wear T-shirts
of their favorite teams of artist assistants.
On the alley wall, someone has drawn
a hillside and a horse. A young man sits
on a crate and peels the glue from under
his nails. He nods. And looks. And soon,
pulls out the chalk and adds a saddle
and a man, who looks back and shouts
as if he has found his enemy again.
Rebecca Morgan Frank, “How to Judge a Picture” from The Spokes of Venus. Copyright © 2016 by Rebecca Morgan Frank. Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: The Spokes of Venus (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)
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