After Vuillard by Sarah Maclay

—after Vuillard’s Garden at Vaucresson

House is a dappled construct
House is a shadowed land on a small hill
House is before the abundant garden—
The birdlike stems and butterflies
Of flowers pirouetting,
Nearly as large as the windows,
Or leaves like yellow diurnal bats
House is behind the woman in the satin pink kimono,
Face as large as the first floor
House is the tiny gardener,
Head as big as a rose,
Inspecting the hedge
Perspective is filigreed blue shadow
Below the white hibiscus, stamens
Longer than a hand
Windows turning red as the roof in the evening sun,
Red as the tallest floribunda
Is the woman with rose-petal hair
In the lattice of shadows, handing—
Is the dark canoe-shaped shadow on the roof
The figure behind the open curtain
The closed cerulean shutters—
Their slightly aged pastel, the texture of their rough wood
The door thrown open
The hot sweet smell of summer-singed pollen
The soft sounds of garments landing on the floor
Is for sale
Is her blue hat
Is the cracked tectonic floor
Is no longer there
Is the sun hitting the pavers, the terraced, dry dirt steps,
The chair
The thorns
Perspective is the removed corset
Longer than petals
The flying light
The light flying
Night coming on, to the left
Above the acacia, below the pine
Illuminating the chorus line of genies
Playing their bagpipes
As the cannas and the ultimate dwarf bearded irises
Unfurl, unravel, nearly ragged, vulvic, utterly,
And the whole yard is full of flying things
Abundantly tethered enough to stay in position
For a time
For this moment
The blue, I’m telling you, I can’t make out
Though it’s closer to larkspur than indigo,
Closer to denim, closer to bamboo
I guess I should be happy
How does it speak?

Sarah Maclay is the author of three chapbooks and four poetry collections, most recently, The “She” Series: A Venice Correspondence, a braided collaboration with Holaday Mason (What Books Press) and Music from the Black Room (UT Press). Her first full-length, Whore, won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, FIELD, Ploughshares, Manoa, Blackbird, The Best American Erotic Poetry, Poetry Daily, The Writer’s Chronicle, Poetry International, where she served as Book Review Editor for a decade, and beyond. Her work has been supported by a City of Los Angeles Master Artist Fellowship and a Yaddo residency, and awarded a Pushcart Special Mention. For three years, she served as artistic director of The 3rd Area, a reading series based in galleries in DTLA and Bergamot Station. A Montana native, a graduate of Oberlin and VCFA, she teaches at LMU in Los Angeles and conducts periodic workshops at Beyond Baroque.