The Reader
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

On Will Barnet’s “Woman Reading,” 1970

The red counterpane
sets off the white cat
with the orange eyes.
I have a cat with those
eyes and orange striping
through his white fur.
He gives measured looks,
just like this cat.
The woman with her blue
book and cool blue eyes
looks like me, or rather,
her expression is mine
when I get interrupted
while reading.
It says,
Go away.
The white cat on the red
counterpane doesn’t purr;
nor does mine.
It says,
Go away.
But I can’t go. Her
blank-faced blue book
fascinates me.
I must ask the question
The Reader

What are you reading?

PAINTING: “Woman Reading” by Will Barnet (1970).

PHOTOGRAPH: The author reading Patti Smith’s fantastic book M Train, 2015.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote my poem from the perspective of gazing at a Reader and being a Reader. Some of Will Barnet’s elegant paintings reside within the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, one of my favorite museums in the world.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is an obsessed reader — who wants to not be interrupted while reading ever — and lover of words. Her work is, or will be, in these diverse journals: the Buddhist Poetry Review, Foliate Oak, Hedgerow, I Am Not a Silent Poet, Mad Swirl, Prairie Light Review, Reverie Fair, Silver Birch Press, Stepping Stones, and Yellow Chair Review. Tricia volunteers, believes strongly in the ideology of Think Globally, Act Locally and wants you to Support Local Art because it’s important. Tricia resides with her husband and family of animals in Illinois/in a town called St. Charles/by a river named Fox.