My poem Automat is up today at the Ekphrastic Review. Here is the art and the poem.


I imagine she looked

much like this—


at the Horn & Hardart

near the public library. 

The cloche is new—

always a frugal girl,

she saved her spare change

to buy it.

She has been waiting

much more than an hour—

the wretched coffee

has long gone cold.

I promised I would be there.

“To talk,” I said.

“To patch things up.”

Lonely now

in a new way,

she can only wonder

why I’ve chosen not to.

Perhaps a more

talented artist than I 

might paint

my likeness

as I sit at a similar table


And buried somewhere in that painting

might lie the answer—

in the worry lines

around my eyes, 

or in the tremor


in the stillness of my hands?

I don’t know.

Do we ever 

really know?

It’s been years now,

and painting this picture 

has given me one last chance

to make amends—

to place myself at your table.

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2 Responses to Automat

  1. maryrohrerdann says:

    oh wow, steve, what a great poem – speaks a gut truth about this iconic painting

    Mary Rohrer-Dann

    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?”

    Mary Oliver “The Summer Day”


    • stevieslaw says:

      Thanks Mary. Ekphrastic poems seem to write themselves immediately after I see the art. Or, nothing comes. And then, I can stare at it forever and it will still lead to nothing. Do you have a similar experience?

      Sent from my iPad



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