Eighty you are, Alice, planted
in a blue-striped chair, more naked
than nude. In one hand you hold a brush
like a baton, as if conducting your life,
in the other, a rag for wiping out mistakes.
Your breasts, like mine, droop
over an abdomen poured like a land slump
onto plump thighs. Pizza, pregnancies,
peanut butter, whiskey, long sweet afternoons
in the studio instead of in the gym.
Turkey neck, jowls, marriage, divorce,
paint under the fingernails. I see myself
with the same down-turned mouth,
the same skeptical stare and wonder
how we got our bodies through it all.
You used to say an empty chair by the window
would be your only self portrait. Save
that chair for me, Alice. I’m drawing close.
Tell me how to come ashore.
This poem was first published in Ruth Bavetta's book, Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press) and by Silver Birch Press.
Ruth Bavetta’s poems have been published in Rattle, Nimrod, North American Review, Slant, Tar River Poetry, Spillway, Hanging Loose, Poetry East and many others. She has four books, Embers on the Stairs (Moon Tide Press,) Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press,) Flour Water Salt (Futurecycle Press) and No Longer at This Address (Aldrich Press.) She writes at a messy desk overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
The Ekphrastic Review
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