The Red Cape, Camille Monet in the Snow

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The Red Cape, Camille Monet in the Snow

The Red Cape, Camille Monet in the Snow

Also the subject of "The Red Cape," Monet's first wife Camille is the speaker in this prose poem.

"The Red Cape, Camille Monet in the Snow" by Robert Miltner

after a painting by Claude Monet

Do you see me now, Claude? I am red as a bird, lofty as a cathedral, arched as a bridge. If I frame myself in this glass double door, will you pay me half the attention you give to your canvas? Tell your gardens I too bloom, Claude: I also will flower if tended. Camille Pissarro tells me my eyes are lovely still, how he sees my old self when I smile.

But you, Claude, you make me feel as transparent as the door’s glass as you look through me, beyond me. The way you look past the lilies floating on the water’s surface, seeing only roots and fishtails, moss and stone. Peering down from the bridge, you see mystery, immortality; staring deep into the lily pond, all I see is Ophelia.

"The Red Cape, Camille Monet in the Snow" by Robert Miltner from Greatest Hits: Robert Miltner 1987-2002. Pudding House Publications 2004. Used with permission of the author.

Robert Miltner teaches at Kent State University and in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts Program. His prose poem collection, Hotel Utopia, won the New Rivers Press book prize and was a finalist for the Ohioana Award in Poetry. He’s also won chapbook awards for Against the Simple (Wick Poetry Center) and for Eurydice Rising (Red Berry Editions).