Wanda Waldera © 2014 All Rights Reserved

Cabbage, Quince: One Year
            after Juan Sánchez Cotán’s Still Life with Quince, Cabbage, Melon, and Cucumber


a cabbage hanging from a string

a quince hanging from a string

a slice of melon

green, like a spring moon

after the accident, after the operation
my demons went away

my anxieties

how histrionic to call them demons—
florid, overblown—see,

they’re back

but I’m not


Spain, 17th century: produce was hung
from strings to prevent rotting

rot: demon


first the sky, black,
then a window suspended
in the sky, then a quince
suspended in the window

and the storyline?
the meaning?

I love this Still Life,
the brushwork, the cabbage

I love the quince—common,
yellow, but most of all
I’m drawn into the sky

behind gold

is the light
coming from the sky

or from the quince?

the melon moves
toward me


as if looking through
the window into the mind
of death, it’s my own

as if

a narrative thread
of sorts


a slice of melon on a window ledge

florid, but real


my friend, a Buddhist, says, live
each day as if you have
only one year left

in his 40s, Sánchez Cotán quit
his magnificent still lifes,
joined the Carthusians, took up
stiff Madonnas

not a case, I hope, of putting
one’s devils behind


first meditation for One
Year to Live
—forty of us,
women, here for something to
jolt us, to make us feel
alive, here to

make friends with death

all these needy women scare me

myself manifested forty times

a leaf-green Buddha sits on the altar—
half-lidded, lost in translation

not a god I know

quince face, cabbage belly
no strings, no attachments

very still life

day one, month one:
a slice of melon on a window ledge

Sue D. Burton
Copyright © 2014  

Sue D. Burton is a physician assistant specializing in women’s health care. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Green Mountains Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hunger Mountain, New Ohio Review, Water~Stone Review, and on Verse Daily.

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