Barbara Lydecker Crane: “The Opera Box”


in the imagined voice of Mary Cassatt,
painter of “In the Loge,” Paris, 1878

Leaning forward at the Opera House,
this woman sits alone at a matinee.
To attend at night she’d need to have a spouse,
a father, brother, would-be fiancé…
ridiculous convention! Of youngish age
and modest dress, her bearing speaks of brains;
she rivets her attention on the stage
through opera glasses. A distant man trains
his gaze on her: his opera glasses peer
above his elbow on his rail just
as she leans hers on hers. The sight-lines veer
left and right—and then to you, who must
admit to spying, too. Her only view
is art. She determines what she’ll do.

Barbara Lydecker Crane has won three national awards for her sonnets, and was chosen a Rattle Readers’ Choice Award Finalist in 2018.  She has three collections, and her poems have appeared in many anthologies and journals including America, First Things, Light, Measure, and Think Journal.

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