Painted on the Seine

by T. Allen Culpepper


Unreal city rising from the river and veiled in mist,

not Eliot’s grey and sickly-yellow urban desolation

rendered in sharp, black mechanically-struck words,

not Eliot’s vast, impersonal Thames-banked London at all,

but Monet’s Vetheuil, a village of pink, peach, and lavender

perched above a Seine of dappled blues and greens,

the town’s structures clustered as if drawn together

and upward by the tower of its church, the scene

not really even drawn but somehow brushed into being

without outline by human hand deftly dabbing paint,

reflection in the water no fainter than the upright

image that it mirrors with perfect imperfection,

a fairy city that might not be there at all.