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In the Frame

Looking out through a narrow pane
of glass in the larger window
I saw how the scene came closer
like the ones Van Gogh isolated
in his perspective frame.
The view, as he wrote, was foreshortened
by borders, the single haystack
no longer lost in the greater
expanse of the summer field.
What I saw was the trumpet lily
without the surrounding garden,
without the competing figures
in the foreground, those phlox and asters
that made it seem so far.
The white lily moved toward me
the way when the surgeon held
your x-ray against the light
he blocked its peripheral features
with both hands, setting apart
what became the entire picture,
making me look
where I had to now, at the heart.

Patricia Hooper

Alaska Quarterly Review

Winter & Spring 2017

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