Edward Hopper Study: Hotel Room

While the man is away   
telling his wife   
about the red-corseted woman,   
the woman waits   
on the queen-sized bed.   
You'd expect her quiet   
in the fist of a copper   
statue. Half her face,   
a shade of golden meringue,   
the other half, the dark   
of cattails. Her mouth even—   
too straight, as if she doubted   
her made decision, the way   
women do. In her hands,   
a yellow letter creased,   
like her hunched back.   
Her dress limp on a green chair.   
In front, a man's satchel   
and briefcase. On a dresser,   
a hat with a ceylon   
feather. That is all   
the artist left us with,   
knowing we would turn   
the woman's stone into ours,   
a thirst for the self   
in everything—even   
in the sweet chinks   
of mandarin.

Victoria Chang, "“Edward Hopper Study: Hotel Room”" from (: , )
Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2004)
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