by Alexandria Petrassi
after Pablo Picasso
Imagine you walk in on a woman being unmade. It’s late:
you descended for a glass of water or a macaron or an excuse
to lay claim to a cold sliver of night. In front of her, an artist
preaches to a canvas. Youth is nearly ripe in her. Her hips assert
curve over the upholstery. The armchair’s dark fist rests on her thigh,
remembering some other bounty. Her face is a still lunar phase.
Child ebbs. Woman waxes. One eye understands: she is an offering.
The artist begins to erase the woman’s shoulder flinching under his hand.
Breasts embark from their perch on the canvas. Her fingers collapse
into roots. A pearl necklace floats in the sea of her absence.
Are you still watching? Her body invites glaze of paint like shroud.
You cannot see the metallic kernel of his eye. You can only see
what he lets her keep. Hair like butter. Hair like mint. Skin like
packed porcelain. Skin like bruised sky. Lilac lips. Moon rock labia.
Divisions are desirable. They are doors. Open or closed.
Maybe you wonder what she dreams. Maybe you imagine
her eyes cast toward sealed clouds, her body stretching over
the grass where the absent sea drifts and sinks upon it.