How Shall I Paint You, Mrs St John Hutchinson?
Not enough to clasp stockinged legs about my husband’s
torso, you arrive like a crested chameleon
in the studio. I hoist a horse-hair brush to the canvas,
experiment with two black dots: button-eyes baleful
in pools of teal. Your mouth, your tinkly hostess mouth,
I paint, a giant crimson fruit, a plashy place to kiss.
Below the fatter, bottom lip, I trawl a gash of blue:
suggestion of wetness. Your ochre dress,
the one I picked for you to wear, is cut square
about rippled neck. The body’s void I fill with colour,
force nipples and breasts to disintegrate into flatness.
And skin, your sly mistress-skin blotches
in blancmange pink. Who was it said you looked
like an Arab horse or pierrot the day you came for tea
with Clive (and me) decked in lemon trousers, green
ribbons, a yellow turban pinned to your pencil-parted hair?
I forget. At this easel, overlooking the square, the artist
makes you recognisable: a wife portrays the hideous.
Estelle Price has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. She is the winner of the 2018 Book of Kells Writing Competition and her poetry has been placed or listed in the National Poetry Competition, Bridport Prize, Canterbury Poet of the Year, Much Wenlock, the London Magazine, Yorkmix, Manchester Cathedral, Segora, Wells, Plough, Bangor, Vers, Welshpool and other poetry competitions. Poems have also appeared in Poetry Wales, The Lake (forthcoming), Marble Poetry (forthcoming), Paper Swans Pocket Book of Weddings Anthology, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Stony Thursday Book anthologies, the Smith |Doorstep The Result is What you See Today Anthology, Macunian Ways Anthology and Deep Time Volumes 1 and 2. She lives in Cheshire in the UK.
The Ekphrastic Review
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