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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