Portrait of the Painter Zakovsek

Mr. Schiele, you have painted a portrait
that leans in my direction,
an angle, sharp on the page.

A scarecrow, slanted and sad, posing
for birds:
bones, knuckles, wrists;
he cups his cheek
inside his hand’s hay

the empty hand
hangs straight out
in air.

Buttons on his coat
fade into texture, like eyes
into face,
melon soft
and hollow.

His long thin neck
can barely hold
his head, so it rests
inside his small fist.

Not even the swan
holds its head
with such cold
grace, such
faithful
stillness.

Undershirt buttoned to ribs like skin,
pelvis, heart-shaped and woman-like.
The wrinkles in his clothes fold neatly
into the page,
old and grey, like newspaper
someone used to wrap fish in.

His body empties and runs down his sleeve,
left side first, dripping thin. He is
a tree top, leaning, and broken at the hips

РPublished in Poetry Fullerton © Marylou DiPietro

2017-05-20T11:47:15+00:00