Here stands Rosa, the slope-shouldered
laundress, orange hair veiling one eye. She poses
in a shabby, half-buttoned blouse, calloused
fingers droop near solid hips. Rosa is finished
for today, scrubbing the sheets, the shirts,
the trousers of the rich. She has nothing
left to lose.
Henri, haunted by this jaw-jutted whore,
could not let Rosa go, and so he kept her close
on canvas, painted her with fevered strokes,
even as she trolled the dark and dizzy streets
of Montmartre, savored his absinthe, shared
her stained mattress, shared the strain
that would bury the artist at thirty-six.
Rosa now holds court, eternally framed
in this tony gallery where well-heeled patrons
cock their heads and appraise Henri’s girl
as they sip their catered sherry.
Irene Fick: "I live in Lewes, Delaware and am active in two local writers’ groups - where I’m involved with free writes, readings, classes and critique groups. My poetry has been published in such journals as Poet Lore, Gargoyle and Mojave River Review. My first chapbook , The Stories We Tell, was published in 2014 by The Broadkill Press and earned a first place award (book of verse) from the National Federation of Press Women. I generally write narrative poetry, and the attached is a departure for me."
The Ekphrastic Review
Find a writer, artist, or poem, etc. by searching here: