A Letter

Berthe Morisot. On the Balcony, 1871/72.The Art Institute of Chicago.


by Gregory E. Lucas


Dear Edward,

                        I am so sorry to hear
that the virus has taken your dad’s life;
for both of us it is a time for tears.

Since my last letter, I have lost my wife.
And I keep dreaming of a bright golden dome,
one like the woman in black and girl in white

see through summer haze as they stand alone
on a high Paris balcony, looking
at the city that seems like a gray stone

off in the distance of Morisot’s painting.
Remember?  We saw that painting during better
times, at the museum.  I’ve been wondering

if that brilliant dome might’ve meant to her,
the artist, the same as it means to me:
hope our sorrows end after losses that shatter

our lives.  You said, “When she painted this, she
grieved.”  Then you noticed the mourning garment
worn by the child under her white sleeve.

I know it’s weird, but everything current-
ly happening to us with Covid 19
seems somehow to have become convergent

with almost everything I’ve ever seen.
That closed umbrella that hangs upside
down from the woman’s bent arm as she leans

over the steel railing — I don’t know why,
but in dreams it opens up and shields me
from a torrent of tears falling from the sky.

Take care of yourself, Edward, and please
write another letter soon.
                                          Your friend,
                          Arnie




Gregory E. Lucas writes fiction and poetry.  His short stories and poems have appeared in magazines such as The Ekphrastic Review, Ekphrasis, The Horror Zine, Blue Unicorn, and Pif. Berthe Morisot was a noted Impressionist artist. Her work appeared in nearly all of the Salons de Paris between 1874 and 1886. This watercolor appears in the public domain, thanks to the Art Institute of Chicago.

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