|Oct/Nov 2017 Poetry|
Image excerpted from Manifesting by Roe LiBretto
Adeline Ravoux Looks Back at the Night Van Gogh Shot Himself
What was he like? I'm often asked.
He was calm and gentle,
and as steady as dusk, returning every day
before dark, never missing a meal.
Every evening he would lift
my little sister onto his lap,
drawing The Sandman for her on slate.
How could a man like that
walk out into a corn field
and shoot himself?
I was startled when he returned,
bent over. "Is something wrong?"
but he climbed the stairs
curling up in bed,
a wound near his heart.
A telegram was sent to Theo
as I lingered in the doorway.
I was 13, and despair at that age
76 now, I am still moved by that scene
so long ago. There are moments when I enter a room
and half-expect to see Monsieur Vincent
sitting up in bed, smoking a pipe,
eyes closed, calm, as if thankful
it would soon be over.