Marvin Lurie

The Empty Sleeve at Newport*

The war continues working, day and night...accustoms young women to waiting.
The War Works Hard, Dunya Mikhail

A shadow follows their leisure at the shore,
darkens the left side of their faces.
They ride in an open, two-wheel trap,
wicker sides and fenders, plush cushions.
She has a slender waist,
riding hat with ribbons streaming behind her.
Puffed sleeves lead to delicate hands
that control the reins and whip,
as she leans into the motion of the horse.
Wide eyes serious about her new role, unfamiliar independence.
He is fashionable, a waistcoat, collared shirt closed with a small tie,
the empty left sleeve of his jacket pinned inside its lapel,
a Union army campaign cap.
He is pensive. His world is changed.
A woman drives his horse-drawn trap with confident hands.

*After an illustration by Winslow Homer,
for a story in Harper's Weekly, August 26, 1865





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