sketched length-wise down papyrus, chalk
lines shivering from embarrassment or chill, and still
further up, shadows and light of her slight but sinewy arms, her
modest breasts caressed by arctic wind come and gone, her bones
quaking—in its wake her skin quivers, the aftershock. She is silent.
Head cut clear off by papyrus edge serrated precision. Her neck, a cleft
of chin, are what remain—delicate: Victorian we call it to suggest
demure. She draws my attentions with one knee's vague but provocative
of the other, or so it seems—her curves in tremors, still. Or is
it a woman's touch,
her mistress, dull chalk point in hand sketching skin fluttering like
bird's wings? She could be our lady of spring and wring happiness just
dimensional, curvatures in ecstasy of imagination's keen eye for observation: supple,
nuanced, construction of a lady arriving late to the party—without
voice or ear—
sensing the room gasp, slowly rise: the cheer, wild and rapturous.
This poem is part of a manuscript-in-progress
(tentatively) titled "This Wounded Body." Whereas many of the
poems in the manuscript explore the body of the (male) disenfranchised
(or wounded), I found it incumbent upon me to at least attempt to provide
a sort of pseudo-biography for this anonymous woman whom I first discovered
on the book cover of a former professor's third collection of poetry.
He was a man.