Cézanne has placed a surly easel
in what is still not there.
He feels the geology of absence,
layer upon layer, so well that even bare
fields of canvas are quite authentic.

The road that turns in last year’s grass 
is still just a bend in the mind, 
It begins in a soiled chapter
he has scraped away with his knife— 
you were never there!

Begin with the shadows 
and work towards the lightening middle. 
The blue-gray may tempt back a field.

Like his life this treacherous year: 
the throbbing foot that will not heal 
contemplates deserting him. 
While the road insists anew— 
what thirst for sun!