This poem originally appeared in Lune de Miel, published by Finishing Line Press, 2012.


Two battered boots wait
near the sloped steps that tilt
toward Vincent’s room in Arles.
On the back of a wobbly chair
hangs a solitary straw hat glimpsing
handprints thickly smeared
on the doorknob. Curled tubes
of cadmium spill the last beads
onto a dried palette, and a few
brushes soak in a tin bucket
of turpentine. In a frenzy,
flax, goldenrod, and chartreuse
pile onto canvases, sunflowers
left to dance in the dark melancholy
of the studio, petals falling from
the stretched linen as Vincent
storms into a black and starry night.

Van Gogh, Pair of Shoes, 1886

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