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Absence In Edward Hopper

Who are the lonely people
that inhabit the unvisited
America of my childhood?
The coffee drinkers at
the late night diner
the solitary gas attendant
minding his pumps on the
edge of a brooding wood
or the barely clad women
seemingly divorced from
a world on view
through windows where
sunlight strains
to make a shadow.

Even the group sitting
together in the sun
seem alone, each
trapped in their own version
of a peculiarly still life.

Toward the end he painted
‘Sun in an Empty Room’
the subject of an evaporated dream
brimming with a disquieting stillness
and lack of human touch.
You feel the answer’s here
standing invisible before you
there’s an ache inside
as if something’s missing.

And you realize it’s not what you’re thinking.
It’s the portrait of an empty mind.

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