My Edward Hopper Eye, My Claude Monet

I walk the streets at night
shutting first one eye, then the other.

The left eye is Hopper, its lens
too clear for comfort, the hard lines
of a town you're stuck in, always
August, noon or midnight.

The right eye haloes each street lamp.
Threads of light dissolve each tree into
the next in Paris, spring,

Who could live in that Hopper city?
Once I married there and became
that beautician with hennaed hair
and too many secrets, none her own.

In Monet's garden of well-tended horizons
I sleep three nights, then someone delivers
a newspaper. In the damp green air
events rub off on my hands.

In every storm
one eye watches bare light
shock the land, split a tree;
the other sees each gutter
alive with wings and the rain rinsing.

And so the eyes argue:
one strips, one clothes. One cauterizes,
one salves. And I
walk on.

Louisville Review
Read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac