The Painting

Matt Beagle Bourgault

You know the image so well
it hardly seems it once was new.
You stand on the stone floor
and it rests in front of you,
perched in just the right light,
and you think about how old it is
and how someone had the idea
and took the time to dip brushes
and begin, and now, years after the artist
has died, you stand in the perfect
coolness of the museum and take it in.
It is just a painting. You’ve seen
the image a thousand times
but you stand there while the other
museum-goers come and go, content
to say they have seen the real thing.
You imagine the swirls and the dabs
and the hands, spotted with color,
strong but deft, and you forget the time
until it is time to go. You step back
into the day and the light seems
to fall on the streets at a new angle.
It is the same sun that shines every day.

Matt Beagle Bourgault lives with his family in northern Vermont where he also writes and runs marathons. His poetry has appeared recently in Vermont Sports Today and Mankato Poetry Review.