Express the value of life
in lines and
daubed charcoal.

Add the girl’s nose and tinted lashes,
black gloves,
lace collar,
overblown cloak.
Eyebrows tucked beneath hood,
chin tucked to neck,
subtracting her gloom.
Harder to draw,
harder to detract.
Highlight her cheekbones in rouge.
Add breath to an otherwise
achromatic lover.
Add her troubled partner in the backdrop:
blue-gray with a hint of black at the corners,
small silhouette of a rainstorm
receding over the edge of the horizon.
Add some balance to a ruminating giant.
Add her absent brother.

Subtract her moans.
Erase her nose.
It’s too big and bull flaring.
No one will take her like that.
Thin the clavicle.
Thin the waist.
Add some plum to the lips.
Add a remark:
“This will not do.”

Grab the Hi-Polymer.
Try to capture the gleam
of mistakes on her face:
birth marks, pencil marks, oil sheen,
eraser flakes,
lines that are furrows or scars or warrior’s
ruddy blotches on the thighs,
dry skin on the feet,
swan’s neck,
bucked teeth,
knife marks,
revised smile.
Never trust a man with an airbrush gun
and a promise
when you could just
erase yourself alone.

She is flawless.
Analogized you.
Contrast to your optimism,
your bubble of assurance
that is dominating,
that denies a compact or an inventory,
drawn in shady overtones
and complicated desires.
Artist’s proof of hidden bruise
shoved deep inside the confines
of gusto and canvas
come to life in the luster of pencil dust
and uncomplicated process
stretched wide for the world to admire.
Deflated mirror.

She still has all  of her freckles
and you are noticing
a few things
about yourself.

“the artist”



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