Rembrandt’s Woman Bathing (1654) – Carol Henrikson

In darkness at the water’s edge,
Hendrickje drops
her heavy dress
behind her on
the bank, and glowing
in a white chemise,
her hair pulled loosely back,
steps in.  The light
that lights her face,
the cloth, her sturdy
body, in this moment
of imbalance, perfect grace,
seems not to shine
from any outer source —
is not the moon’s —
but seems to come
from Rembrandt knowing,
painting her as
she looks down
into the water, gazes
through to something
in that shimmering,
that darkness,
with a smile
that’s almost
imperceptible: Hendrickje
secretly is carrying their child.

New HenriksonCarol Henrikson lives in Vermont, writes, paints has taught poetry classes at the Montpelier Senior Center, and has worked as a personal care assistant for the elderly, presently works in the Vt. College of Fine Arts bookstore. She has published in some places – Georgia Review, Southern Humanities review, Bloodroot, Clover, Vermont Magazine; has a (long ago) VT Council on the Arts competition-co-winner chapbook called The Well and a self-published one (2014) titled Knowing Nothing About Gypsies, done by Outlaw Artist’s Press in Price, Utah.