Finally, I got her

Fanned fingers on blotchy skin, palpating bone curves and eye pits. Nails, spider-like, on her languid face knead the sterility out of her cheek fat. Vulnerable, she stands, in front of her vanity.

Two brisk slaps to her face and a resumption of who she is, who she is told she’s always been.

Be. Be this.

She pierces the fleshy bulbs of her ears with jewelry dripping with indigo and crimson.

“You are strong,” echoes in her lungs, but only dribbles off her full lower lip as she saunters to the posing-chair.

Still, stay still. Just wait.

She relieves the friction with two-circling thumbs and balled up sweaty toes. She can’t stare into his gaze, his scrutiny, or even catch her breath.

Gently, he whispers, “I’m finished, dear.” She tip-toes out in childlike bashfulness.

He softened my eyes. Until I saw the finished portrait, I knew I was who I was.

{This portrait rests in the Georgia Museum of Art. My senior year I choose this lady to capture through an ekphrastic assignment. I read a much different draft of this poem at my first poetry reading. I am just now happy with the final version. Brevity is best.}

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