Rough Glow of Late Rembrandt – by Linda Bryant

Gone are column & filigree, the onlooking
crowds. Crisp brushwork gives way to mottled
impressions, thick impasto. No pearl shine

& forget the boasting of ruffles. Simplicity
over grandeur as his pageantry fades
to self-scrutiny. We didn’t know my mother
was dying when she started unloading

her favorite books by the dozens
& then her tchotchkes. She emptied
her Lady Buxton, her cedar chest full to the top

with coverlets & needlepoint. Take it all,
she instructed. One night after Wheel
of Fortune she blurted the secret
of a flaky crust & firm meringue. I scribbled

it down. The den was dark but her face
bright like a bed of white sizzling
coals. In his last self-portrait, Rembrandt

dons a red coat, so dark it treads
to black. Brown walls like deer
fur surround him, the only gleam from beneath
the skin, his forehead & cheeks afire.


Linda Bryant Davis is a retired journalist who is now dedicated to writing with more creativity and imagination than her career required. She lives in Berea, Kentucky and owns Owsley Fork Writers Sanctuary. She has published in literary journals and has two chapbooks, Swing Set Confessional (Act of Power Press, 2022) and Between Two Worlds (Act of Power Press, 2023). She teaches at Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning in Lexington and is co-host of Kentucky Writers Roundtable, a weekly talk show on RadioLex 93.9 FM.