—painting by Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
She wonders how things could get any worse—
new blisters under her stiff black shoes, a bellhop’s rap at the door,
or our eyes from the gallery burrowing into her
waiting to see what she has to give.
Travel’s too much for a woman whose vanity outweighs a valise,
too much for a woman who needs to know her skin’s as true as June.
Slumped on the edge of the bed and dressed only in a brassiere,
she reaches for the train timetable. Yet, no train can know her way.
Her hair, clapped to one cheek
and the hat balanced on the bureau tips to its lady.
The barren yellow wall behind her,
a map in which land isn’t yet painted-in.