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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 14: August 2022
Haibun: 182 words
By Maureen Kingston

Solitary Genius


Urns. Stools. Chrome. Greenwich Village after midnight. Museum visitors often appear lonesome after studying Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. If you’ve grown up in the diner business, though, the painting feels like home. A cleaner version, it’s true, but still welcoming.

after cocoa
the warmth
of the mug

It’s been five years since I last popped into the Art Institute to gawk at my favorite painting. Standing in front of it now, I sense a shift. The familiar triangle—the man hunched next to the woman at the counter, the waiter facing them—used to make me smile. It reminded me of the years I spent serving late-night coffee and pie to fellow insomniacs. The color scheme of the three figures is what I’ve failed to notice time and again. I can’t think why, because the pattern isn’t subtle; Hopper waves it in our faces. Red sitting next to Blue being served by White. A composition he imagined to be eternal in the 1940s. A composition unlikely to be revived in my lifetime.

framed flag
no way in
no way out



Publisher’s Note:

Nighthawks (oil on canvas, 1942) by American realist painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is on view at Art Institute of Chicago.

Maureen Kingston’s
Issue 14, August 2022

poems and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in Akitsu Quarterly; Contemporary Haibun Online; Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu; Gyroscope Review; Ink Sweat & Tears; Maudlin House; Modern Poetry Quarterly Review; Prune Juice Journal of Senryu & Kyoka; Sledgehammer Lit; tsuri-dōrō (a small journal of haiku and senryū); Unbroken Journal; and Whiskey Island.

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