by Kim Roberts
RICHARD DIEBENKORN’S “FIGURE ON A PORCH”
We make a landscape
from flat bands of color:
blue at the top is always sky,
the orange of the porch
is the ground on which we stand,
looking out across the fields.
It is human to reason,
to try to make sense
from the abstract. It is human
to place ourselves on the porch.
The hot colors of the lowest band
rush toward us, as hot colors
tend to do: masculine
orange and red reach out,
invite, while the cool greens and blues
recede: private, female.
The figure on the porch is a woman.
Her head might be a smudge,
a thumb print– she balances
between figure and mere shape–
but she stares out over the water
as we do, looking at her looking
at bands of color, stripes on a canvas,
light caught but not static,
trapped but still shimmering.
-first appeared in Ekphrasis, Vol. 1, No. 5, 1999.