Breakfast with Bonnard

Blue of the 5 a.m. kitchen window
before I snap on the light, blue of the match
and the gas flame and the garden air of your Salle
à manger sur le jardin, antiphonal twilights,
my egg yolk and buttery toast rhyming

with your pears and croissants, your red
poppies with my jewels of strawberry jam:
your breakfast room in miniature
here in mine, where I read with my mouth full,
wiping my fingers before turning the page.

Seventy years apart, what have my
dawn and scents of coffee to do with your
1935? With the moment when Marthe
enters carrying the poppies, creating her table
just so? All these years she has been

busy at it, the garden beyond her insistently
green, sun still gilding the patch of wall,
the pears fresh in their bowl. I switch off
the radio news and turn back to you,
Pierre, as you paint dozens of these dining

room scenes, variations on a theme
of windows, tablecloths, bowls, each thing
enclosing the smaller one, nesting boxes,
your future now contained in our past,
your morning safe on the page here in mine,

and mine already there in your stained-glass
blues, your edible golds, both of us
perpetually hungry, you turning Mallarmé's
poetry into paint and me translating it back:
Home. Morning. Hope framed in a simple square.

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