Madame Matisse’s Hat
by Sally Hewitt
He didn’t like Madame Matisse’s Hat
pointed his Picasso nose in the air,
and made the hand gesture for time-out,
thus I had to break my concentration,
my absorption in form and vibrant colors,
and trudge out of the museum with him.
By then I was adept at multitasking
and asked him what was the bother
about the painting while trying to draw
its outline in my mind. He simply shrugged
his Modigliani shoulders, shuddering
at the thought of what he called the
green painting with lopsided hat.
Finally, he said, “People don’t have green
faces.” Dumbfounded, until I remembered
this is a man who sees chemical equations
as art, lines his toothpicks in a tidy row,
and whose face appears green right this
very minute: blue-green with tints of pink,
orange, yellow, maroon, teal, and lavender.
How can he be blind to the rainbow of colors
in our everyday lives? He’d ask me why I am
blind to chemical and atomic reactions
in our daily lives, and he’d have a point. So, I
leave him on the bench, a Rodin subject
and return to my absolute absorption of beauty:
the juxtaposition of glorious colors and the
uncomplicated forms of Matisse’s
Femme au chapeau.
Published in The Rockford Review, Winter-Spring 2017