Tuesday, April 22, 2014



Once, you painted the bathers

nudging the landscape

with their nude bodies

to be noticed and nuanced by  light.


Their skin glowing on the bone

soft as fruit pulp

made the canvass ripe, plucked

by the hunger in those wanting

women and apples.


Now you are the bather

soaking your old hands

in ice water. The  bowl gleams

catching movements by your son  

or his girlfriend -- your latest model


sent by his mother

from an infinite distance

to please and pamper the house

with beauty.


On a good day

when your fingers have lingered

long enough in this cold bath,

you squeeze paint from their tubes:


titanium for her  shadow,

red ocher for her hair

and faint blue for veins

that define her translucent skin.


How you envy your oldest child.

He can touch her flesh, trace

the first flush of heat. You can merely look

from an artist's chair

watching her vulnerability --- wash through


like the morning sun

through sheer silk or milk glass. Your dead wife's curtains

and vase.

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