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Les Dindons

Julie E. Bloemeke

          after Claude Monet’s Les Dindons, Musée d’Orsay, Paris


Lest we think it all so serious,

he did paint turkeys.

Which, though not platypuses,

are inherently funny. We describe

them in waddles, their cluck strut

and poor attempt at peacock,

their roving eyes a comedy

of nerves. Even one is without body,

making me think of that pigeon

and his noble goal

to drive a bus. This one enters left,

bottom of canvas, neck thrust

without the legs to prove it,

and another is only half complete,

the charcoal line remaining

as if to say, this is too ridiculous

to finish. Maybe it was the comic

relief between landscape

and wave, French flag

and sailboat. Maybe it was

the tap and bow

that got him, the way they seem

to retrieve nothingness

in their peck and up, peck and up.

Or maybe it was a way to thumb

his nose at the house behind:

a rafter of gentle

men inside, smoking cigars

and claiming beauty

from the window.



Julie E. Bloemeke (she/her) is the author of Slide to Unlock (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2020). Co-editor of Let Me Say This: A Dolly Parton Poetry Anthology (Madville Publishing, 2023) she was the 2022 Third Coast Poetry Prize winner and is an associate editor for South Carolina Review.

Photo Credit: Emilee Luke, "Sunny End of the Day"

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