after John Singer Sargent

The lilies above the girls in white look like girls in white,
dancing. The girls hang paper lanterns in the garden, careful
with the candles inside. They watch the small flames flicker, kept safe
from the drifting wind by white and red paper.
The sky is cooling; the gnats and flies have grown still
among the flowers. The girls lower their faces toward the lanterns.
Nothing else moves, although the dancing lilies pretend to.
In the fading sunlight, every color appears bluish,
like a universal shadow, but the pink roses
are stubborn. The pink roses stay pink
even in the dark.