Canvas has teeth to catch the smear of pigment that comes off a brush
it has a fighting spirit that resists assault, that provides firm backing
as long as its stretched tight and nailed to a frame like Christ to his cross.
It takes some time to warm his hands up, to dip and twirl the brushes in
turpentine. Lightheaded from fumes he sometimes sits and stares at her,
his model standing under the skylight, under its grey-steel light.
Auburn hair, long white arms, breasts with perky nipples showing
through the thin silk robe he gave to her to wear. “Lean back and stare, imagine
you’re on a rock in the Aegean Sea, waiting for your sailor boy to come.”
There in the frame he captures her flame, the look of sorrow and Eros
like small hidden sapphires behind her irises, irresponsibly beautiful
tense and poised like an ibis set to run from her predator, a painter.