John Divola, Zuma #4

John Divola. Zuma #4. 1978, reprinted 2012. Pigment print on rag paper. Monsen Study Collection of Photography, gift of Joseph and Elaine Monsen, replacement print by the artist, 2012.6


by Judith Yarrow

An old friend sent me a photo of the room I lived in back then. There’d been a fire in it. Charred rubbish was piled in the center of the room. The window panes of the two big windows in the corner of the room were shattered— by the fire or the firefighters.

In that corner had been a table and two chairs. The view was wonderful at all times but especially at sunset when the dark ultramarine of the sea slowly swallowed the rose and peach of the sky. A glass of wine, the distant sound of children playing in the street, the fragrance of  frangipani. The very hint of frangipani can bring it all back to me And the dreams I dreamt then, so rich. Every night the waves lapping on the shore filled my dreams, and in the morning the roosters crowed all over the village. It was a dreamtime in my life. I was so young and hopeful and trusting. Of course it couldn’t last. The burnt husk of a relationship eventually sent me running, but that table in the corner looking out at the sea is still an icon of that time when I thought I could learn the meaning of life and capture it in poems.

This short piece was written by a student of the Richard Hugo House who attended the writing workshop at the Henry.

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