Soutine’s Still Life with Rayfish
He started with Chardin’s The Ray, losing
the cat, startled guilty-fierce by someone
we’ll never see who caught it pussy-footing
among the shucked oysters. That leaves nothing
animate in Soutine’s painting: a wing, a wedge
of dead fish spilling its guts, a bottle shaped
like a woman’s butt, a creepy-crawly face
formed by the ray’s nostrils and mouth. All flesh
is meat, Soutine reminds us, essentially
impermanent, offal and incarnadine
jumble of vegetables alike. He held
no truck with Chardin’s measured, mellow-murky
palette, reworking his own ferocious pigments
to snare the world’s furious, fluid turbulence.
Aaron Fischer worked for 30+ years as a print and online editor in technology publishing and public policy. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in After Happy Hour, Briar Cliff Review, Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Five Points, Hamilton Stone Review, Hudson Review, Nervous Ghost, Sow’s Ear, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Black Stars of Blood: The Weegee Poems, was published in 2018. He has been nominated for five Pushcart Prizes and won the 2020 Prime Number magazine poetry contest.
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