To the Painter Standing in the Background, Reflecting
You had your chance. The camera got there first
while you languished, stale, caught up
in capturing the glint of rain on roads, walls,
roofs; light filtering grayly through a veil
of cloud. You were grasping for poetry
in this scene so familiar you can sketch it
with your fingertips in the dark-- You have.
Your teacher says repetition is the key
to mastery. At some point you'll realize
she means tuition, and stop paying.
For now you hold her words in your mouth,
tasting possibility. You'd like to sketch
this scene on her body, tracing the angles
of the street, corner rooftops on hipbones
so sharp they cast shadows and turn
into windowsills framing dark hills
in the distance... powerful intangibles.
The scene behind you, though,
is iconic. Ridiculously perfect. Anyone
can find a woman in a cello;
the curves are obvious, intended,
graceful but artificial, and all
too easy to love. Too easy to protect.
How do you hold an umbrella over
a city? The rain is half the beauty,
anyway. The sheen in it. The layers
of reflection, refraction through which you
can almost see breasts, thighs, hands
thin and precise. You disguise her body
in an endless line of identical
cityscapes. Behind you,
a man snaps a photograph.
You'll kick yourself later.