Where is the sitter, the mirror? Outside the frame.
Unseen. So whose portrait does he paint, his father’s
or his own? Perhaps he glimpses the darkened edge
of what’s to come or the backlight of lineage
in this doubling, a portrait of a man painting a portrait
of the man who taught him to paint. He has finished
his own figure as reflection has shown him, form
and light confirmed by his sidelong look. A last touch,
the fine-haired brush feathers the beard of the father,
who peers sideways too, perhaps eyeing the mirrored
face of the one he created recreating him. Or is it
the artist who emerges from the canvas he has painted
on canvas, adding years with each stroke?
Does he glance over his shoulder to ask, Who is this,
coming up on me, aged? Not my future but
a foreshadow my father teaches me to see.
J. C. Todd
J. C. Todd’s books are FUBAR, an artist book collaboration (Lucia Press), What Space This Body (Wind Publications), and two chapbooks. Poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and most recently in the Beloit Poetry Journal, Thrush, and Valparaiso Review. Winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Prize, she has received fellowships and awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the New Jersey Arts Council, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Pew, UCross, Ragdale and Leeway foundations.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: