Modern Art

This young marine knows his mind wasn’t built for this,
sitting with his back to the windowsill.
His brother-in-arms sprawled peacefully
in his lap. Shadows on the wall
across the room are dancing, colors
changing without warning. The young marine
watches the red splatter spray the wall and thinks—

            Oh, I have seen that one before, I know that piece on the wall. Its name—
            is red and yellow splatter? Perhaps it is by Pollock, I cannot remember.

He is mentally crossing off names
of works and artists in his college classroom
from six months prior, until the floor under him
splinters out from the center,
lifting the young marine from the building
in a shudder of orange and yellow light.

            I know this artist. That soldier there, with his hands around his face and mouth
            agape. By Munch. Edvard Munch. I know his work well. I’ve seen it here many times.

After the second floor gives way,
with the young marine crashing down outside
among the lilies and acacia, he smiles at the sky.

            Yes, yes, I know that one, up there, look. It is by van Gogh. Starry Night.
            You can tell by the way the fire twists and moves between the stars.

When the town is abandoned, the young marine
is left tattered and sleeping because no one
saw him, lying under an acacia, pointing to the sky.

William Littlejohn-Oram received a degree in Fiction from the University of Houston and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Poetry from Texas Tech University. He can currently be found in Lubbock, TX, wearing brightly colored shoes. His work is forthcoming in Inkwell Journal, Amethyst Review, and Ancient Paths.

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