A young woman so drawn to the ordinary light
passing through her dozen window panes
that she has climbed onto the countertop, one leg
resting in the aluminum sink, the other balanced
on the thin formica edge, extending in front
of a white china plate already scraped and rinsed.
The rest of her kitchen is black, far less apologetic
than any burgher interiors of Vermeer. Unlike his
maids, housewives, and early widows,
this girl need not refrain from getting as near
as she desires to the common city streets beyond
her daily chores and notes. Nothing keeps her
clothing laced or furred — no veils or aprons,
heavy skirt, bodice or collar. No suitor is waiting
for her reply. Her upturned face, a profile
of reflected light, is pearly enough
without the clasp on skin of things too rare.
ABOUT THIS POEM
This poem was inspired by a photo by Valeria H. (see her website HERE) entitled Kitchen. The photo is posted on the artist’s website as well as on EPTAS blog mentioned below
An earlier version of this poem appeared on January 8, 2009 as a blog comment on Every Photo Tells A Story. This poem was influenced, in part, by my reading of the book In Quiet Light : Poems on Vermeer’s Women by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre (Eerdmans, 2000).