Fall 1987 • Vol. IX No. 4 Poetry |

Soldier and Laughing Girl

(A painting by Vermeer)   How long has the wine slept in her glass?The painter tells her to stay as she is.He is interested in the lighther face receives, like a draughtof wine still and clear, or tolerant weather.Laughter's bright color hides all shadow. The soldier's posture speaks his pleasure,elbow out, knee importantly placed,the black hat a huge statementwhole crowds might gather under.Who knows it is a man's whole businessto speak against instant apprehension? Many women have sat as she does,listening to a history of quick fortune.What else has she to do but this,to receive the light like freedom?It seems a natural breathing,a smile at the one taking leave. If she lifted her glass, would her face change,break open to take back its openness,swallowing her complaisance, to releasetears now mute behind her eyes?It is so easy to misread her.A closer look unfastens no mysteries— no knowledge in the formal arrangement.The light is just an order her face receiv

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By Susan Snively

(A painting by Vermeer)   How long has the wine slept in her glass?The painter tells her to stay as she is.He is interested in the lighther face receives, like […]

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