Office at Night, 1940
—after Edward Hopper
A man at his desk ignores his secretary standing
next to him by the cabinet. White light frames
the woman’s black hair and eyes, heavy with
makeup. She wears pump heels, the navy dress
molded to the swelling curves of her body. Hopper’s
angle bears down on the scene the way she looks
down on papers fallen to the floor. A window’s open
with shade and cord swinging. The letter in the typewriter
unfinished, folders on the man’s desk in disarray.
Rigid in concentration and pale as his suit and tie, the man
stares at the letter gripped in his hands. How late is it?
Will they leave together for her walk-up in the city
or go their separate ways. He home on the L
to family in the suburbs, she to one room, a breeze
from the fire escape disturbing diary pages and ashes
of cigarette butts, smeared with dark lipstick.
New York Movie, 1939
–after Edward Hopper
The lovely woman slumps against the chair rail
of the theatre’s hall, apart from the others
at the motion picture, those cinema devotees,
sitting in plush seats, captured by the screen’s allure,
by the new, the modern, in what they called art
houses, a name for many places In that art
capital of the world, of Hopper’s world. Is this woman
whose face rests against her hand an usherette,
or Josephine, the painter’s wife, nursing some insult
from her dismissive husband. Some shush hissed
in her ear after an innocent observation of the unreeling
story. For Edward who, when seeing his first play
as a child, came home to make his own model theatre,
to be distracted while watching would be quite tiresome.
And for Jo, well, she was paying for daring to be
his companion, his model, muse
and the person he, at times could not stand,
but also could not stand to be without.
Diana Pinckney, Charlotte, NC, is the author of 5 collections of poetry, the latest titled, The Beast and The Innocent. She has been awarded the 2010 Ekphrasis Prize from the journal of that name, Atlanta Review’s 2012 International Prize, and Press 53’s 2018 Prime Number Prize among other awards. Her work has been published widely in printed and online journals.