Sapphics for Artemisia
Woman painter, eyebrows and lips tight twisted,
saws through sinew, brushes on dark vermilion
blood that pools on sheets and erupts in ribbons:
Holofernes lies like a birthing mother,
knees contracted, wetting his bed with bleeding.
Judith — midwife, murderess, woman painter --
ably attends him.
Artemisia, lavish in flesh and velvet,
bares her thick white elbows and roughened knuckles,
bares her backward appetite keen for murder:
Knowing art historians, cataloguing
yellow ochre, umber and chiaroscuro
coolly point professional tidy fingers,
none of them painters.
Cara Valle is an English teacher and fitness enthusiast living in Virginia with her husband and four young children. Her poems have been published in Light, Mezzo Cammin, The Lyric, Think, Blue Unicorn, and other journals.
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