All Too Familiarhttps://i1.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/C0AE9D50-2ECC-41DF-8F23-A2E8568D5D96-e1549344055543.jpeg?fit=1920%2C1440&ssl=119201440Marley StuartMarley Stuarthttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Marley-Stuart-Headshot-e1539006915502.jpg?fit=96%2C96&ssl=1
—after a painting by Douglas Bourgeois
Woman stands in front of woman, one in purple
underwear, the other ghosted blue, naked, crazy
psychedelic wallpaper showing through
her breasts and pubic hair and two perfect feet
tight together on the shag rug, a glass
of wine broken and spilled between them
and grass growing up from the floorboards.
This one draws us more than the others. Why?
Because you do see your death at the most
unexpected moments, even changing,
spilling wine? Or maybe it’s just the colors.
We look for a while, then go for drinks.
The gallery lights shut off and the women face
each other in the dark as we pass again without looking
on our way back to the streetcar. Halfway home,
jounced awake between stops, they come back
all too familiar, any two people at any time.
One leaves the room, grows old and dies. The other stays.
Marley Stuart is an Assistant Editor of Louisiana Literature and a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars. His stories and poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in The Chattahoochee Review, Permafrost, Painted Bride Quarterly, Xavier Review, The Healing Muse, L’Éphémère Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Occulum and About Place. He and his wife, the writer Kimberly Dawn Stuart, live in New Orleans and direct the small press River Glass Books.