BC (January 28,1929 / Oakland, California)

Vermeer's Woman In Blue Reading A Letter

Here with his books, his maps, his empty chair-
I know never a waking hour
without longing,
nor slumber
without missing his touch.

Does he ache for me as I for him?
He has winds and tides and hostile aborigines
to occupy his mind, but I-
an empty chair, and maps, and books,
and this swollen belly he knows not of.

Books, maps, chair,
this letter-passed from ship
to ship in southern seas-
and the burgeoning fruit of his seed
are all I have of him.

The letter speaks of hopes
for riches beyond measure,
and of loneliness, too,
but sparingly. Do we not have
wealth enough? And loneliness
in abundance?

Longing for his return,
I wait among his books and maps
and gaze upon that empty chair,
caress his letter, and
thrill to the impatient movement
within my womb.

Will our firstborn shy from him?
Or he from this unforeseen stranger
in his house?

Does he think of me now,
as he fills the belly
of his ship with spice?
Or are his thoughts confined
to wind and tide and current-
or some dark, exotic maiden?

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