Mary Cassatt 1844 -1926
The Letter, 1890-1891drypoint and aquatint on laid paper, 
Chester Dale Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.


[part 2]

Mary Cassatt:  Two Studies


by Leslie Monsour














 Leslie Monsour reads 
click to hear Leslie Monsour read "Mary Cassatt: Two Studies -- II. The Envelope"
Mary Cassatt:
Two Studies--
II. The Envelope

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II.  The Envelope

after "The Letter," color print with drypoint  and aquatint

Olivia's at her desk and vainly tries
To end a letter carefully begun,
Inviting him (nerves flash behind her eyes)
To come to tea next week at half-past one.
The wallpaper creates a little park,
A curling hedge of safe, ungiving thought.
Her dampened brow knits rows of question marks
Entwined with wisps of hair. Her throat grows hot

At sealing up the letter with her tongue
So intimate an act will never do.
And yet she doesn't like to keep a sponge,
Endures, instead, the pungent taste of glue.
She lays the letter down upon the blotter
And smoothes her bodice, while her throat grows hotter.

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