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impressed by the impressionists

by Olivia Umstead

i know you know i think claude’s a genius

and even if you didn’t know at first

you figured it out after counting

the met ticket stubs in my trash can

and remarked that my college savings

were wasted on water lilies.


you say you’ve been to the met too

and it’s nothing special.

you always did put me in my place.


you probably stood too close to the walls

so the lilies were just brushstrokes of

paint flung around the canvas.

like a toddler fingerpainting the kitchen table.


then again, when i get up close to you

your blood rushes through your cheeks

like all your senses flickering on at once

and all the while, those lilies still on the wall.

whether they’re brushstrokes or not,

they’re not moving like you’re moving.

About the Author

Olivia Rose Umstead is a poet and writer based in San Mateo, California, who splits her time between the Bay Area and Redlands, California, where she attends the University of Redlands. She is the recipient of the 2020 Jean Burden Poetry Prize and a poem of hers will be included in the May 2021 edition of Beyond Words Literary Magazine. She cites Frank O'Hara and e.e. cummings as her greatest poetic influences. When not writing, she enjoys reading, volunteering, and giving back to her community through her work in parks and recreation.

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