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