The Act of Witnessing


“Girl with Green Shawl”–Moise Kisling, 1919

The Act of Witnessing


She faces the settled form;

densely bound beneath an auburn down,

olive skin like mama’s belly

curves and cups bulb

eyes that seem so ready

to roll out wetly,

not competently contained

by fences of thick thorn lashes;

filament fingers flutter above

the hollow curve of loss.

Words form by compression—

the bend of the torso,

down and in, then out,

suspended for a moment—

mauve lips are fragile vines.

Words spill, scattering

as does she as she


chestnut crystals.