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.