Express the value of life
in lines and
daubed charcoal.

Add the girl’s lids and tinted lashes,
fixed eyebrows,
nose,
lace collar under
overblown cloak.
Hair tucked beneath hood,
chin tucked to neck,
subtract her gloom;
then what would she do?
Harder to draw,
harder to draw something
in.
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.
Find and add
her absent brother.
Subtract her moans.
Erase her nose.
It’s too bull flare.
No one will take her like that.
Thin the clavicle.
Thin the waist.
Add some plum to the lips.
Add a remark.
“This won’t 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 wrinkles,
ruddy blotches on the thighs,
dry skin on the feet,
swan’s neck,
bucked teeth,
knife marks and a
revised smile.
“Never trust a man with a
promise.”

She is flawless.
Precise.
Analogized you.
Contrast to your optimism;
your bubble of assurance
that is dominating,
that denies a compact or an inventory
and drawn in shady undertones
to hide complicated desires.
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.
A deflated mirror.

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

“the artist”

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