Lynne Knight

On the Impossibility of Capturing What You See

	after Monet’s Promenade près d’Argenteuil (1873)
An afternoon wind blows their umbrellas back, 
framing their hatted heads in wind-taut black. 

They set off across the field, the man going last,
the wind in the high grass the only conversation,

its syllables tumbling out of themselves like secrets 
unlatching in the minds of the man and the woman. 

The child walks ahead. Humming, maybe, off-key,
since he’s so young. The man thanks the wind

for the way it molds his wife’s dress to her hips,
and his steps slow into a dream of their first nights.

Why does she keep so hidden now? Has she taken
a lover? His mother warned him all beautiful women

bring sorrow to themselves and others. She herself
beautiful, even near death, her skin a parchment

where he read rushed words: whispers, confessed
betrayals. In the end it’s all one story, he thinks.

One afternoon you start across a field with your wife 
and child; another afternoon, soon, or not so soon,

you lie in wait for death to take you in its arms.
Arms like the wind, he thinks: invisible: like death 

with its secrets, its whispering and rush. A language
you learn all at once, with no means to record it.