Maggie Schwed: "Man Dining (The Artist's Father)"




          Conte crayon on paper, 1883-4.


How intent he is on his plate.  Lowered face,

spoon in his fist, the napkin’s cloth well spread

from chest to chin:  You draw; I’ll eat.  He stirs


in the lines that scribble “dish”; see how he pesters

the bowl for substance.  A genuine hunger.  The face

that sits for soup ends imposture.  Those widespread


elbows on the table and the modest spread

(red wine black in the bottle still)—a master’s

sketch of what wouldn’t give.  Here’s their face                    


-off, faced.  Père’s dullness, spread, stirs Seurat.




Maggie Schwed’s poems have appeared in Western Humanities Review, Witness, Raritan, Nimrod, Commonweal, Pleiades, Barrow Street, and other magazines or anthologies.  Her chapbook, Out of Season, was published in 2008 by Finishing Line Press.  She lives with her husband in New York City, where she taught high-school English and adult literacy while her children were growing up.  For the past four years, she has been learning to farm, and she is a farm assistant in livestock with the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in New York.