Henri Edmond Cross, Venice: Night of the Festival of the Redeemer,1903. Watercolor over pencil on white wove paper. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975.

Henri Edmond Cross, Venice: Night of the Festival of the Redeemer,1903. Watercolor over pencil on white wove paper. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975.

New York In June

by Madeleine Barnes


I’m not sure how I stayed alive
the summer I lost you.
I hardly noticed the sky,
refused to learn from it,
drew lines through your name.
I rode the train alone,
walked home alone,
worked every night
serving ice cream by the pier
to bury the risk and joy
and despair of you.
I drank rum in the back
with the other servers,
watched Manhattan brighten
through glass
as my shift ended.
I missed Pittsburgh,
snowfall, the smell of hairspray
and firewood, pine,
swimming pools,
days lacking
any kind of order.
I never asked god about you.
It was an experiment:
I dissolved into staircases,
stations, rose and descended
eternally. I felt
like a fortress,
punished but intact.
I couldn’t blame the heat
for its brutal rise,
for melting every trace of ice.
The fires felt right.
Weary beyond words,
I walked in circles,
petals stuck to the soles
of my sandals. Finally
I felt their piercing
and let you go.


Published June 2nd, 2019

Madeleine Barnes is a poet, visual artist, and scholar from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania living in Brooklyn. She serves as Poetry Editor at Cordella Magazine, a publication that showcases the work of women-identified and non-binary writers and artists. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University, and her second chapbook, Light Experiments (2019) is Porkbelly Press’ first ever zine-style photo chapbook. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English Literature at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where she works primarily at the intersection of poetry and material culture.

Henri Edmond Cross (French, 1856–1910) was a leading Neo-Impressionist painter, a pioneer of Pointillism, and a founding member of the Salon des Indépendants. Born in Douai and raised in Lille, France, Cross studied law before moving to Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts. While in Paris, Cross began painting in the studio of François Bonvin (French, 1817–1887), and exhibiting his work at the Salons where he met Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926), Georges Seurat (French, 1859–1891), and Paul Signac (French, 1863–1935). Cross’ interactions with these painters were influential; his palette became more vibrant, his brushstrokes suggested vigorous dabs of color, and his paintings became more entrenched with the atmospheric qualities championed by the Impressionists. Together with Signac, Cross became a proponent of Pointillism, and his compositions became increasingly dictated by Divisionist color theories. Cross later developed debilitating rheumatism, and moved to the Saint-Clair where he continued to work until his death. His works are in collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.