At 16 I was a Cubs fan from a Cubs family when I got dragged to a “Dada & Surrealism” show at the Art Institute of Chicago. Now my brother says, “ I live here and you go to the Institute way more than me.” My book, Engines of Belief is an ekphrastic jubilee dedicated to Modern Art. edrpoet.com
Girl With Braids
after the painting by Amedeo Modigliani
There is a tension between
stark affection and terror
in the face of the girl who sits with blue gusts
whipping straight through blue eyes.
Her cheeks are ruddy.
The blank whites of the sclera,
the snowy teeth seem to curtain
frenzy; one can imagine
a history of catastrophe. Beatings;
this slope-shouldered youth
crouched under a table.
So Modigiliani uses the neck
to disjoin head from body.
Drapes the shirt like sack cloth,
yet the color of champagne.
This creature is too startled for sexual bloom,
so he erases the left corner of her lips.
Wind waves strands of hair across her brow.
Her captor leans over his palette, taunting.
Perhaps a droll voice, a lewd remark.
This temperate thing would bolt,
but fear, or money and the yearning
to escape from the squalor she knows
rivets her to the hardwood chair.
Her blush — blood longing — makes
the flat-as-cardboard figure loom.
In this tension she can not
weigh more than a gull.
©2016 Ed Ruzicka
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