Camille Monet On Her Deathbed, 1879

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In the spirit of National Poetry Month, over the next few days Reads will be publishing five original poems, submitted by Stanford students and chosen by the Arts & Life editors. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do, and that you continue to read, write and celebrate poetry.

“You cannot know…the obsession, the joy, the torment of my days…” 

She looks so pretty laying there, 
belonging to these white walls 
for tourists to see & forget. 

Here, the art is the act of fleeing 
& how flight becomes funeral, 
according to the tour guide. 

The scene is only replica 
of a body rising as the frame 
collapses into a tombstone & then 

into preservation. Light sheds 
itself into spider webs invading 
the birth of loss. Flowers press 

into her chest until the petals 
carve themselves into a casket. 
Her skeleton stained with the absence 

of scintilla. Did she love the same way 
an impressionist loved? Leaving 
everything in the shifting 

of moments into memories longing 
to grow old until the sky slips 
into dew until the soft shades 

of lavender are burning until 
the self is the horizon howling 
in the background & the face 

is merely an afterthought. 
Here, the art is an act of self-help, 
growing into hunger & then into permanence.

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Carolyn Stein is a contributing writer from Los Angeles, California. She is pursuing coursework in psychology, East Asian studies and comparative literature. On campus, you can find her making loud noises with the LSJUMB. Contact her at news 'at' stanforddaily.com.