Posted by: Shanna Germain | 02/19/2010

Pg. 200: Portland Diner

[Part of a series of e-mail poems written on the fly after meeting friends for breakfast in Portland]

*

Three Muses & Baby

It should be a painting, this,
done in oils and framed gilt,
some old man holding a horse-hair brush
to say, “hold it,” while he captures

the way sunlight frames each face.
Three woman and child at breakfast,
picking the blue out of pancakes, the
sugar out of seeing each other after

so long. I’ve been gone a year.
Everything–this diner, north’s highlight
of grey and brown and blond curls,
the boy who was a babe and now

wants everything in his mouth, his fists,
his fat, sticky fingers–everything is captured.
It’s been seven years since we were new.
Did we do this then, and would our faces

look the same under this artist’s hand?
“Did you find love in Texas?” one asks
and the only thing I’ve found
is a cold and lust and a dog that licks

my face awake. It is not enough, never.
But it is everything that I can fold inside the
guilted, ramshackle easel that holds me up.
And then it is time to go, and the painter says

wait, one more brushstroke, before he turns us
to face us: three woman and baby,
captured prayer of what we might become
given pancakes and oils and the right light.

*

Far and fast, s.

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