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POETRY

Mrs. Blake Requests Her Portrait

He keeps putting her off.
She, in her quiet way, insists.
Knowing he has a way with women,
romancing them in paint
the color of jewels, inventing
their most flattering features,
she expects he will exalt
her wifely figure,
the serviceable hips,
hair ripe with oil and smoke.
Over lunch he takes up
a dull lead stub and sketches
her profile: one miniature eye
downcast, half a mouth
and chin. Still chewing
the last bite of fish pie,
he adds a few squiggles for hair.
Pushing it across the table,
he trusts her to understand
that when he rendered Beatrice
crowned, Eve’s exquisite neck
and Bathsheba disrobed,
his vision was of Catherine.

Print Edition

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    • Morton D. Paley
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