Prostrations — Lucia Cherciu

After Pierre Auguste Renoir’s Study, Torso, Sunlight Effect

We should all have an artist paint our portrait
before we get to the point of refusing to wear

sleeveless shirts. We should all have a gifted
photographer take pictures of us that make us look

like a Renoir model. When we turn eighty-seven—
should we all be so lucky to turn eighty-seven,

we will look back on the way we looked today
and wish we understood we were all right.

Painters teach us it’s all about the light:
if only we could capture the light. Blue

diffused through blue. Hospitality of trust,
of loving eyes. Mutual adoration of colors.

Recognizing someone: an icon of luminescence.
Every morning realizing sanctity:

the beauty of the beloved. Resisting
gerontophobia: the older you are today

the more I remember in you the summer
of ripeness, the tall, proud posture

of feeling at home in your confidence.
Eternally grateful for your steps.

The round gestures of your kindness.
The wisdom of your calm. Content.

Lucia Cherciu is the author of five books of poetry, including “Train Ride to Bucharest” (Sheep Meadow Press, 2017), a winner of the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize. She is the 2021 Dutchess County Poet Laureate, and her work was nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net. She teaches English at SUNY/Dutchess in Poughkeepsie, NY. Currently, she is working on revising her novel. Her web page is She can be followed on twitter: @CherciuLucia