Dining Table with Two Ghosts

after Bonnard

A substantial meal even for the living, but these
two pick at food like adolescents. Does the girlish
figure matter now? Especially when the tables
are turned and Renée, her suicide years ago,
a wedding gift to M. and Mme. Bonnard, now
is the life of the party. Relationship has no legality
in death. She gleams like the striped satin tablecloth,
her blonde hair brilliant against it, her smile sharpens
the silverware, her eyes the luscious plums of every
still life Bonnard has ever painted. And Marthe,
as shadowed in life as she is in death, is used to being
a phantom, a camouflaged presence in every painting,
at every meal, like the Sumerian ghost who told his
friend that death was much like life only grayer. Maybe
it is only memory that shades or brightens, and now
Renée — released to Pierre’s imagination by Marthe’s
death — has taken her place at the center of the table.

Printed from Cerise Press: http://www.cerisepress.com

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