She Complains of Him at Last
If he had been a poet and no magician
If he had been a magician and no poet
Things might have been well or well enough
But as it was, all was confusion.
His idea of me gradually turned solid
And began showing up at meetings
Raising obscure points of order
Or waiting afterwards with an umbrella
Worried that I’d catch cold from the rain.
Even dead I could not get away from her
She pleaded my case so well that heaven –
That cold and rooky place – made room for me.
My friends in hell think I’ve forgotten them.
On a July day in 1656 the lawyers’ men saw
In the entrance to the house Rembrandt had lost
Twenty five paintings, including three
By his friend Jan Lievens with whom
He had shared a studio when they were young.
Also, two naked plaster children,
A plaster head and a plaster child (asleep),
Four Spanish chairs with Russian leather seats
Two black-seated chairs, a pine step-stool
And a shabby shoe. Since then, that shoe
Has been searching for its mate. I have seen it
Under a streetlight, on subway tracks and –
As a prop – in someone else’s dream.