To feed my family I paint his girth again
(such privilege at court I can’t evade).
King Henry’s doublet could enfold three men
inside its mink and glinting gold brocade.
I draped a band of jewels around his chest;
together with the slope of his plumed hat,
it makes a hint of halo–my private jest
and public tout of this colossal rat.
Although I’ve made his royal raiment glow,
I’ve not adorned the plunder of his face–
his tiny mouth, his cheeks like risen dough,
his weasel eyes. And though I know my place
and bow to most caprices and commands,
I won’t enlarge his most unmanly hands.
Barbara Lydecker Crane
Barbara Lydecker Crane has won Laureate’s Choice awards from the Maria Faust Sonnet Contest in 2016 and 2018, as well as First Prize in the 2011 Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest. She was a finalist for the 2017 Rattle Poetry Prize. She has published three chapbooks: Zero Gravitas (2012), Alphabetricks (2013), and BackWords Logic (2017). Her poems have appeared in First Things, Light, Measure, Rattle, Valparaiso Review, Think, Writer’s Almanac, and several anthologies. She’s also an artist.
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