Michael Boccardo

Edward Hopper’s “Room in NewYork”

Early evening, a man and a woman sit inside a room
the size of a heartbeat, the walls lit like honey. He is leaning

into his own shadow, elbows balanced on knees, thumbing
through the classifieds. Smudges of ink bruise his palms,

petals of purple hibiscus. Moments ago a slipper of glass held a clutch
of flowers on the small table between them—pinwheels of hydrangea,

daffodil, snapdragon—but the woman grew frightened of them,
their thirsty faces tilted upward, always huddled together

on the brittle stalks of their necks like children, imploring and expectant.
She tossed them over the window ledge where they landed like crayons

along the sooty pavement nine stories below. Afterwards, she drifted
to the piano, her dress blazing down her legs like the stain left

from a ripe plum. Another hour will pass this way: heads bowed,
bodies rocking in place, his tie a loosened cord, sleeves unrolled; her hair

cradled in a stiff knot at the nape of her neck, fingers dragging
the keys. Around them, notes stroke the silence, a lullaby of regret

tucking them in for the night, their gaze flat, hollowed, lingering
in opposite corners of the room like ruined blossoms.