In a painting by Raoul Dufy,
one depicting the bay at Nice,
two slender palms tower over the scene
infused with variant blues, sand
in front, red-tiled houses on hills
behind; dinghies drawn up to the right.
The bay itself fills most of the picture,
some sort of pleasure palace rising
from it in pale yellows and greens;
a railing curves across from left
to right, and in the foreground a woman
in a yellow dress with washed-out
red parasol walks alone,
the only figure in the painting.
Who is she, and where’s she going?
Why is she unescorted,
in this place with no companion?
Has she chosen solitude,
or asserted independence?
Has she broken with a lover,
or been let down by a no-show?
One wants to ask her, “Will you lunch?
Or join me perhaps for a glass of wine?”
T. Allen Culpepper