after Luigi Miradori
Wellcome Trust 2013 exhibition, Death: a self-portrait.
A baby’s skin shines bright against black, front-lit. He’s naked, asleep, sprawled on his side.
His fair curls tuck behind an ear.
He’s dimpled and creased,
his cheeks are full and pink.
His navel dents his stomach. His hips rest on a red cushion, velvet, braided.
His upper arm tangles in white silk.
His elbow points out.
He almost hugs a darkened adult skull, eye sockets black.
His head lies on its crown.
His face kisses its forehead.
Without the skull
he would fall, wake, wail.
This poem is from This Dust, published by Soundswrite Press.
Maxine Linnell is a poet, novelist, editor and creative writing teacher based in Rothley, UK. Vanitas was part of a series of poems about the sudden death of her son in 2010.
The Ekphrastic Review
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