Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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An Early Nude by Rothko

If her body seems both jagged and vague
sometimes waiting too long does that:
she dozes dog-faced, her proportions wrong,
all legs, the supple legs that kept you closer to her,
uncomfortably close on the brown vinyl chaise,
while the fan did little to lift the weight
of August, the clouds dragging the whole sky down
onto the street where you live together. Her busy head’s
half on a pillow, half in the crook of her arm,
one dream or jerk away from falling off
the chaise, striking the end table’s sharp corner
as she did once as a girl. So much blood,
she’d said, on her bedroom rug, how
her father had had to restrain her for the stitches.
How many times you’ve licked that chicken-scratch scar.
She’s facing the wall, still nicotine-yellow
from the prior owner, and you want to press her
hard against it, break open the plaster,
or you want to leave through the back door
without waking her. Why always those galoshes,
even after she’s slipped out of her papery sundress
spotted now with the rain that made this morning hotter.  end  

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