I was supposed to be the subject
Of a painting. Something with a bit
Of haze, maybe a light red tint,
A background of reeds leading
To open water. Birds – but way off,
And painted more precisely than
Anything in the foreground. Perhaps I
Would be in a dress, or draped
Like the goddess Diana, or possibly
Delicately naked, twisted
At the hip, seen from the back.
There could be a tree, perhaps Spanish
Moss. The painter is yet to decide.
But I have been cut out of the production.
The figure now is to be nondescript,
The light all second hand. There will be
Something ominous closing in. Had I been
The subject, the painting’s elements
Would have conspired against me. My own
Children, regarding the painting in place of
Lunch, would not have recognized me.
But for me to have known that the effort
Was mine, who the misty unrecognizable
Woman was, and the effort to gather it all
Together, would have been comforting.
I have preferences when getting lost.
Down a street I always knew was there,
But never explored. A neighborhood
Rumored but unvisited, an annex
Listed but unread. Imagine the lawns,
The prevalent style of fake shutters,
The percentage of homes with fences,
What sort of decorative bushes
Left marching all the way to the street.
If there is a man outside
Washing his car or edging the driveway,
Will he wave back if I wave,
Is there a kiddie pool
And are there children in it?
Were I to slow down for a better
View, will they put aside what they
Are doing, square themselves
Into a stance of protection,
Think of all the things that
Are theirs, not mine. Will their eyes
Go into slits, and will someone
Smile and wonder who this could be.
Ken’s collections of brief fictions, “Constant Animals”, “Avenging Cartography”, “Revenge of the House Hurlers”, and “Engaging Cattle”; and collections of poetry, “The Book of Robot” and “Victims of a Failed Civics”, can be located at Amazon and most online booksellers. He spent 33 years in information system management, is married to a world-record-holding female powerlifter, and has a family of several cats and betta fish. Individual works have appeared in “Café Irreal”, “Analog”, “Danse Macabre”, “The Cincinnati Review”, and several hundred other places. He has had seven Pushcart nominations without fielding a single win.
His website is www.kpoyner.com. It has some good pictures of the wife powerlifting. Twitter handle is @KenPoyner2.