Next to the Japanese bridge,
my green wooden boat rests
under the weeping willow,
while Fifi, our calico cat,
stretches deliciously
on the warm gravel path.

If I am displeased with a composition,
I ask Henri, my gardener, to row out
and rearrange the lilies.

Floating on a reflection of sky,
they seem to defy gravity.

Then I blend colors to replicate
all the different blues
and transparent hues.

Walking these paths, I wait
for canvases to dry,
and Cezanne, Rodin,
and Clemenceau to arrive.

From main gate to front door,
they’ll stroll under high arching trellises
filled with rambling roses that ascend
forming a flowering tunnel,
a parade of colors,
where I will welcome them
and our party will begin.

Mark Thalman is the author of Stronger Than the Current, The Peasant Dance, and Catching the Limit. His poems have appeared in the Paterson Review, The MacGuffin, Pedestal Magazine, and Valparaiso Review. He retired from the public schools after teaching English and Creative Writing for 35 years. Please visit