Maybe I am not very human. What I wanted
was to paint sunlight on the side of a house. —Edward Hopper
The men and women stretch on canvas chairs
like starched curtains. Set on a deck that seems
to float unmoored, these five sit tight-lipped
and light-blinded. Although one man in blue neck
scarf and jacket bends over his book as if
on a train, the two couples in front lean back.
The men wear suits, ties. The women, dresses,
one sports a broad-brimmed hat and red scarf.
Are they cold? Clothed for work? Or mannequins
on display. Under a sky bluing above a row of granite
hills, they face grass stiff and yellow as wheat-straw.
Out of bounds, beyond any seascape or even a city
park, only their shadows mingle, blending
below. Does anyone acknowledge another
or is that too much to ask? For them, for Hopper
nearing eighty, for their country roiling toward war
and riots. Have they opted for sun, their orbit
forever, or are they our robots of the future.