After The Art Museum: Impressionism – Cody Mullins

I almost forgot you were a person
for a minute
standing statuesque in mostly white,
as we voyaged from art
to cold concrete,
to our arguments about DMV policies
and scientific sleep patterns,
to where I wonder why we don’t fight
about what matters.

You looked to me
a paradox (sincerely abstract),
reminiscent both
of ancient, distant witchcraft
and china dolls with soft hair
on high shelves.
You looked convinced of me—

But you’re not convincing me.
Framed there in that stone arch,
I really did forget
your humanity,
gazing as if at a painting,
and searching for meaning or motivation.
Like Renoir’s women
and Degas’ ballerinas,
you look distant but full of soft color,
something I’d like to touch,
but can’t.
I forgot you were a person
and you tell me
that seems strange,
but I say I am an impressionist
at heart
and that really
you looked just like a painting.
And then I thought about how
paintings are both beautiful
and not real,
and how impressions are no more than that





Cody Mullins


Cody Mullins is an Associate Professor of English and Humanities Program Chair at Ivy Tech Community College and a Literature PhD student at Ball State University. He grew up in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains and, despite his Hoosier home, is a true hillbilly at heart. He lives in Noblesville, Indiana with his wife and son. Cody Mullins is the winner of the 2016 Southampton Review Short Short Fiction Contest and the 2016 Kathy Carlson Flash Fiction Award Winner.

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