How to Look at a Painting
Start with the jungle greenness of her sleeve.
Beneath its sun-splashed canopy
sweep up and down the lushness of its canyons.
Next, cross her crimson robe knee-deep,
like Dante, in a viscous bloody pool.
Emerge, slide up her neck to alpenglow,
then slip along her flawless cheek to meet
her oscillating forehead veil:
now creamy streaks, now gossamer transparency.
Fathom down, sound each abyss of sorrow:
her pupils' downcast symmetry.
Rope-up to hike the high white ridge between,
you'll intersect the subtle twenty pinks
conjoined into the sweetness of her lips.
Now scan the plump peach child top to bottom,
his little toes will point to where you started:
the sheens and green perfusions of her tunic.
Go back around, surprise yourself,
find unobserved new tints, a niche to ponder.
Then step away, allow the parts to fuse –
behold a perfect Raphael Madonna.
Kenneth Lee is a pathologist, practicing in Boston. He is the author of four books of poetry, the latest: Late Revelations, 2017.
The Ekphrastic Review
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