There's a certain shape or shadow camouflaged
in some of Berthe Morisot's work
that might suggest she suffered a deep, personal loss.
comment from an observer
Her brother-in law portrayed her
lounging against a red wall, bold
as the red apple meant to poison Snow-white
or the radishes that haunted a mother's craving
and enslaved Rapunzel to a witch.
She was uncomfortable with the color
and used it sparingly in her own paintings.
Her husband laughed when he saw journal cartoons
warning that pregnant women
should not attend Impressionist shows
because they might cause a miscarriage. He then pointed to his wife
bragging how she flirted with brush and light
and still gave birth to a healthy girl. Like him,
she claimed the critics were clowns
but felt nauseas, unnerved by their prediction.
Her mind workshopped into sleep while the body relaxed
on a sofa. She dreamt she was spilling a basket of flowers
on canvas. Mint-green buds, pale peonies and spreading underneath -- sprays
of Spanish Flag. Its scarlet bloom was layered like the still
and flattened wings of a bird. She awoke abruptly with a craving for salt.