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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 13: May 2022
Poem: 238 words
By Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Home is the Sailor

—After Rooms by the Sea by Edward Hopper*
This is the place where no one lives. The door 
is wide open, as everyone is welcome 

where no one lives, and no one expects every one, 
sooner or later. No one can be late, or early, but you 

can’t be, since no one keeps time here. You think about 
stripping down to your birthday suit, diving 

from the expectant sunlit threshold into 
the infinite deep blue sea, setting course 

for the unbounded far horizon, but the water 
is a bit choppy today, and no one stops you. 

Besides, that is the way you came in, no one 
accompanying you on the speedboat, berthed 

conveniently beneath the house. You liked 
the speedboat, the wind in your hair, salt spray 

on your face, no one telling you what to do. 
Perhaps you will venture into the next room, 

the grass-green carpet inviting, a twin prism 
of sunlight falling across the frame of a picture 

that must mean something to someone, if only 
someone were here. Instead, you pull up a chair 

from the void at your back, and wait. Sooner or later, 
no one joins you. The redundancy of no one 

joining no one is not lost upon you. You wonder 
where you have been all your life. The lapping 

of waves shushes your thoughts, rocks the house 
gently. Your eyes close. You welcome yourself home. 



*Publisher’s Note:

Rooms by the Sea (oil on canvas, 1951) by American painter Edward Hopper (1882–1967) is held by the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut (link retrieved on 12 May 2022):

See also Urgent Light: Hopper’s Rooms by the Sea Featured in the New York Times by Cory Reynolds in Artbook (4 January 2013).

Robert L. Dean, Jr.
Issue 13, May 2022

is the author of two full-length books: The Aerialist Will Not Be Performing, ekphrastic poems and short fictions after the art of Steven Schroeder (Turning Plow Press, 2020), and a poetry collection, At the Lake with Heisenberg (Spartan Press, 2018). His chapbook, Pulp, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in July 2022.

Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2019 and multiple times for Best of the Net, his work has appeared in Chiron Review; Flint Hills Review; Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance & Solidarity; I-70 Review; Illya’s Honey; KYSO Flash; MacQueen’s Quinterly; MockingHeart Review; October Hill Magazine; Red River Review; River City Poetry; Sheila-Na-Gig online; Shot Glass; The Ekphrastic Review; Thorny Locust; and the Wichita Broadside Project.

A native Kansan, Dean studied music composition with Dr. Walter Mays at Wichita State University before going on the road as a bass player, conductor, and arranger; he was a professional musician for 30 years, playing with acts such as Jesse Lopez, Bo Didley, Frank Sinatra Jr., Vic Damone, Jim Stafford, Kenny Rankin, B. W. Stevenson, and the Dallas Jazz Orchestra. And he put in a stint with the house band at the Fairmont Hotel Venetian Room in Dallas. While living in Dallas, he also worked 20 years for The Dallas Morning News and made the transition from music to writing before moving back to Kansas in 2007.

Dean is a member of the Kansas Authors Club and The Writers Place, and the event coordinator for Epistrophy: An Afternoon of Poetry and Improvised Music, held annually in Wichita, Kansas. He lives in Augusta, Kansas, along with a universe of books, CDs, LPs, an electric bass, and a couple dozen hats. In his spare time, he practices the time-honored art of hermitry.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hopper and Dean: Interview and poems in River City Poetry (Fall 2017).

Metal Man, ekphrastic poem inspired by a 1955 photograph of Dean’s paternal grandfather in the Boeing machine shop; published in The Ekphrastic Review (28 July 2018) and nominated for Best of the Net.

Two of Dean’s ekphrastic works in MacQueen’s Quinterly (Issue 5, October 2020): Impression, CNF after Berthe Morisot’s painting Woman and Child on a Balcony; and Eyes on You, a poem after Aurore Uwase Munyabera’s painting Conflict Resolution

Windmill, ekphrastic poem inspired by Dean’s maternal grandfather; published in KYSO Flash (Issue 11, Spring 2019) and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This poem is among half-a-dozen of Dean’s ekphrastic works published in KYSO Flash (Issues 11 and 12).

Llama, 1957, ekphrastic haibun inspired by Inge Morath’s photograph A Llama in Times Square; published in The Ekphrastic Review (13 January 2018).

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