A Bowl of Fruit

By Robert VanderMolen Robert VanderMolen
When I think of that room
I see the de Kooning at the end of the hall

Sometimes rain on the long windows
Or the tinkering of drops on the skylight

But not Yvon
Splashing Scotch into a cocktail glass

Otherwise fastidious—

In retrospect
I should have asked her more

About the famous jazz guitarist
She had been engaged to

But that much was true—

Even after she bought me a pocket knife
Sheathed in velvet

Every young man needs a knife
She informed her group

But in the restaurant her friends
Eyed me like a turnip. One that talked—

While she was away at her office,
I tried to read

Her unfinished essay
On the vagaries of diplomacy

On a rug of embroidered storks

The two small Rodins
Seemed misplaced

A grand piano
She didn’t play

(though I did, affecting a controlled

while gazing over rooftops
at carefully maintained gardens)—

I don’t remember her smell

I don’t recall her fingers

The last I heard she was living in Barcelona

She never did learn to cook

Now her letters are worth money

Source: Poetry (February 2010).


This poem originally appeared in the February 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

February 2010
 Robert  VanderMolen


Robert VanderMolen lives and works in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His latest collection of poems is Water (Michigan State University Press, 2008).

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Love, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Class, Realistic & Complicated

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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