Posers by Kim M. Baker


Inspired by the still life painting Lilacs, Oil on Canvas, by Ted Theodores

as if we could still their life
drop cuttings into a Jericho vessel
display their fragrance
their bunched selves
on the mantle
or the dining room table
after ignoring them the rest of the year

and when we turn our backs
or dim the lights
they stretch like yogis
in poses that might unvase them
might make them bigger
or at least peaceful with this existence

or maybe they entertain themselves this way
pretending to be happy
spraying their fragrance
into the black background
trying to look useful
look happy

until two fall on their sides laughing
exhausted at the absurdity
of trying to make someone happy
by being useful
by dying a slow death

by Kim M. Baker

Editor’s Note: Ekphrastic poetry can sometimes descend into mere description. This poem does not have that failing. Instead, personification imbues the lines with an imagined narrative and an emotional punch at the end.

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