From the Green Wallpapered Room
Before the Holocaust
the artist’s aunt played her gramophone and the neighbors
in the small town of Opatow, Poland came and stood listening
outside her open window to the music of Chopin. The artist and his
family escaped to Canada and years later his daughter encouraged
him to paint his memories growing up Jewish in that small town.
I live in a small town in upstate New York. There is a house
that sits back from the road, neat, trim, everything in place.
A porch swing painted egg white, a lawn full of zinnias in little
rock gardens, a sidewalk lined with petunias and two perfectly
shaped trees, a maple and an oak, shade the front yard. An American
flag flutters in the breeze along with a huge banner that reads
“Trump.” All over the yard, red, white and blue signs read “Trump/Pence.”
The painting shows how ordinary the villagers look
how simple the aunt appears, how bright the floral
gramophone, how lovely the green flowered wallpaper.
Is the painting a warning?