Poetry: November in the National Gallery

So much of our day to day lives are governed by the small and urgent gifts of longing–a lover leaving a shirt behind from the night before, walking around a park and watching the world shift from one season to the next, a ladybug landing right between the knuckles. The speaker of this poem know intimately about such longing, which drives this poem’s central conceit. Longing here has a flavor, has a shape, it’s the way dust motes whirl in autumn’s light.



November in the National Gallery


Past two frozen lions, I waited for you
in the white cafe with butternut squash soup

punctuated by pine nuts. Some were blackened
ovals, others untoasted teardrops—

we never could cook at the right temperature.
I swirled my spoon through chiffonades of sage

floating on ribbons of cream—like a soothsayer’s brew
and when I drew it to my lips I couldn’t taste anything

but the empty wooden seat of your chair. It overtook me
like the collapse of a limestone-cliff shoreline—

the waves carried me through velvet-wallpapered galleries
where the paintings hanged from golden ropes

with a weight you’ll never see.




Katie Dozer (KHDM) is published in Rattle, The Tickle, and elsewhere. Dozer has sold around a dozen poems as NFTs, and is very active in the (small but growing) NFT community on Twitter (@Katie_Dozier).

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