The Girl in The Plumed Hat
Ernst and I were friends even though he considered me
naïve and superficial. I didn’t share his brooding vision,
but I could make him laugh.
I thought him unkind when he revealed the painting,
the way he cut off my legs, made me a paper doll.
He chose our favorite street off the Stadtpark to express
his story, blended lines of colored lies to tell his truth.
Urban life was our métier. We loved the stimulation,
the rhythms and challenges of the new.
Why do you drape the street in ghastly funereal hues?
Ernest’s response was a shrug. The curved facades
of buildings no longer framed the public space.
They loomed and towered over the shade trees, tilted
like some malign presence.”
But the worst thing about his picture—the disgraceful
way he painted over the windows—the vibrant
and resplendent windows, alive with the bustle
of the street, flash of children playing in the park.
In shrouding those mirrors, he buried our reflections.
We lost our friendship over this painting.
I wish now I had asked more questions,
acknowledged my foreboding but I feared
anything that would upset my comfortable world.
He had erased everything we loved,
had made me a mannequin.
How right he was to paint me without eyes.
Mary Jo Balistreri
Mary Jo has three full length books of poetry and one chapbook. She was a musician most of her life but due to the death of a grandchild and a consequent loss of her hearing, she turned to poetry. Mary Jo has always been interested in art and received her BA in art from the U. of Pennsylvania. Please visit her at maryjobalistreripoet.com. She lives in Wisconsin.
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