—After a painting by Han Gan, Eighth-century Tang Dynasty
In the gallery of his empty words,
A bride is awaiting her faithless groom.
In the painting she sees a horse, stamping
Inky hooves across an accusation
Of letters and excuses for her grief.
He groomed her upon a fading cliché,
When joy reached beyond the framing margins
And she abandons her gown of forever.
In the museum of his empty words,
The milk of its body is coloring
The reason for trembling beneath his stare.
She mounts the tailess spirit, free reining
The negative space of untethered night,
Its bruise, shining white in her ecstasy.
For more information and details about the painting, visit The MET's digital art collection by clicking here
JONATHAN STULL is a retired high school and university creative writing teacher. He has published in numerous magazine, and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.