A Dinner Table At Night

For the prompt at Magpie Tales. I couldn’t shake the impression of distance from my mind (he is looking in her direction, whilst she is looking into the distance)



A Dinner Table at Night, 1884, John Singer Sargent


There is silence here –
There is fear, and the dense
Stultifying pall of hurt-
and of memories unresolved.

I have been here before-
On the cusp of this uncharted
Sea, tottering on the edge
Of this yawning chasm, willing
Myself like a puppet on a string
To not tip over, to not
Be swallowed up in the flames
Of the Sango death ritual;
Like a mannequin sinks-
Weighed down by a necklace
Of milestones – into the depths
Of a cold calm sea.

Water drops glistening
In the subtle shade of red lamps,
Wine shimmering in the barely there light
Cannot fade the gloom;

And in her eyes as she looks away
For one last time
Is the cold detached lost-ness
Of a tomorrow that will never be.