The Painter in the Loft I hear footsteps on the stairs, women mostly, coming from his studio. Outside, there’s children chalking up the sidewalk for hopscotch. The park across the street is luminous green. Bluebirds have returned to their nest boxes. Mothers push baby carriages along the scented paths. But, to him, these images are flatter than canvas. So it’s willing bodies or nothing. It’s the great undraped, the lovely female form. I lie in bed, listening to his artistic choices as they ascend, descend. Light of foot coming, even lighter going, and, in between, the silence of another’s brush-stroke.