Writing to Edward Hopper


The Painted Lady and the Poet at the Nighthawk Café


Once again I sat at the bar

long after midnight.

Joe sat in his usual seat

on my right.  We spoke in mono-


too late, too tired for more.

I turned to look out the window

into the dark and shadowed street

when just beyond the picture frame

I saw her.  Her head was tilted

sideways.  She was staring.

Hadn’t seen her in months,

years actually, now that I think of it.

But where were the rows of

scarred desks behind her

filled with scribbling children?

Where were the frantic hands

waving in the air trying to get her attention?

Joe never even turned his head at

my hushed, Look.

He just raised his cigarette one more time.

We stared at each other

me, the lady in the painting,

she the poet searching for words,

I with Joe at the bar,

she with a tall man behind her

in an brightly lit office late at night.

There we were two ladies

alone with men at midnight.

She nodded

as did I.

We acknowledged what we were-

two women alone at midnight

who would have only the dark to see us home.

Janice DeRuiter 2008

Let art surprise you and see what it has to say to you about yourself, your world, life.

About Winding Stream Press

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, M.F.A. is a poet who worked for over a decade as a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Helen Shoemaker, Ph.D. L.M.F.T. is a university professor who teaches in the areas of child development and counseling. She is also a therapist in private practice.
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