He must have painted her picture a million
times, a million ways.
with brush stroke,
This gypsy woman,
ordinary nature and locale, exotic,
so alive in mind
found form and placement.
Flattered, in frock of floral, and perched on park bench,
sweetly apron clad in
kitchen, though never barefoot;
a portrait in part with
taunting version of a Mona Lisa Smile;
nudity and length, the prior only he could see, the former, blanketed, so teasing;
in only tetrad color scheme and then pastels that pardoned actuality;
in oil on canvas, in a gallery on Main,
she stares out
with elbows on knees
hands on face,
rump on the front steps
in the front yard
in the forefront of his imagination,
and the green grass
Midwest Rockwellesque house they never owned looms behind.
he drew her
than she was.
This, he thinks, he'd keep for self, and had they owned that house, he'd hang above the mantle.
He fondly named it, "Harriet."
Sketched in solitude and also
drawn amongst the
crowd, always younger than she must have been
In one she stands against testaceous wall so that
the bright of locks
would shimmer as a halo.
Her hair, in this, he glazed in gold
really her hair was straw like
all the beauty he conceived, perceived and sold- a lie-
romanticized, or in terms, less contrived-
This, is what the woman thought, as she scrutinized what she knew was meant to be her image.
with bohemian heart is all
so to set things
she chose language instead of
hues, sentences in place of
With blank page and lit then snuffed out cigarette, black
coffee on a desk in an aging house no younger than
she'd never left,
she began to write,
erasing any superfluity,
succinct instead as suicide. She willed words
into strict formation and knocked them into
sense whenever needed. She paused once to take
off socks and rub her feet and many times she stopped, rereading, mulling over details,
frowning, and checking for any error.
Chill of fact
even as plot intrigued.
Hours later she was shocked to find she'd hit upon his theme.
She could see it
unveiled this way in type.
Tired by the truth, she abandoned project, went outside, or rather, first to hallway, locking
the door behind her, descended the stairs of her apartment dwelling.
Rump on curb, she placed her
hands on face,
rested elbows on her knees
and watched the bustle of the city.
She felt smaller here but older.
The baby kicked inside her, eager to arrive.
She wondered, as she listened to din of traffic, how long it must have been since she had seen him.
She noticed not the thunder so though the spill of rain surprised, she stayed.
She imagined the water color hanging he'd left with her now dripping, saw the happiness he'd created fading.
She knew she couldn't, wouldn't ever be with him again.
She wished at least to see him just once more.
And had it been just three quarters of one year, since she'd seen him last, she might have soon seen him in the likeness of the child coming.
It had been much, much longer than just three quarters of one year.