Gallery for Pamela Sztybel
I slid past a pencil drawing of a young girl,
a white marble statue of a warrior,
and a vase that no one had dropped
in over five thousand years of human history.
Then I stopped at an oil painting
in a frame flecked with gold,
which I gazed at for such a long time
that the painting began to look back at me,
which was especially odd because this
was not a portrait but a landscape,
and what was looking back at me was a pale field,
a stand of trees, and a blue and light orange sky.
The longer we looked at one another
the more it seemed like one of those staring contests
you can never win, the kind you might
get into with a dog with bangs over its eyes.
But then the painting blinked,
or at least a tiny cow I had not noticed
changed her expression, and that was enough
to return me to the world beyond the painting
which now was textured like a fabric,
finely threaded and grained with color,
as if a brush had been lifted by a hand
and pressed, again and again, against its surface.
-Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate 2001-03