Studying the Painting
by Taylor Graham

_______Van Gogh, The Café Terrace on the Place du Forum

Is this the sidewalk table where we met,
that evening in Arles? A glass of Riesling –
passersby – glitter-starry night
like the one set into memory.
Yet, why imagine Vincent’s stars and gaslights
to be true, when every face is
brushstroke-flat, the night sky mid-day blue.
Each stranger, eyes concealed
beneath a hat, a head-tilt.
So much room for latitude to improvise
the details. A cobbled street like stones
submerged, riffle-glimpsed in river.
Canopied, a golden interlude. The two of us
at table sharing a glass of wine.
A last goodnight, our eyes reflecting
deconvergent stars.
Come to think, we never were in Arles.

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