In the room women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
-T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
A woman said a lamp in the parlor
reminded her of Michelangelo’s
sculpture, but he was the only sculptor
she knew by name.
Another woman agreed and mentioned
that chapel somewhere in Europe
she thought he may have painted.
He knew the pope, right? The wine
is delightful, and probably from Italy,
like Michelangelo himself.
And the colors of the wallpaper?
Truly inspired. A balding man
passed by without notice. The women
turned to architecture, one asserted
the house was surely in the Tudor
style, while another claimed her own
was Victorian, though most everyone
assumed she lived with her mother
and a cat named Leonardo. The man
carefully selected a peach from the fruit
bowl, turning it over and over in his hands.
The women assumed him an artist,
partly because of his clothing,
guessing he’d likely paint a still
life of the peach, alone on a table
with a shadow stretching out to its left;
He must have a brilliant understanding
of light and dark, probably an expert
on the Renaissance and Europe.
Susan Elliott Brown is a PhD student at the University of Southern Mississippi where she received the 2014 Joan Johnson Award in Poetry. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry, The Atticus Review, The Ampersand Review, and Alehouse, among others.