Mid-way through our stroll in Albertina,

I am overcome.


I want to know, nah, solve her..

just like Alex tries when he

draws her.. over & over.

She is like the moisture

that slips out just as

color dries on the sheets.

Are those her notations

or her footprints on the

margins of his linoleum?

She must have other chores.

(When she is not his model, she runs

past windows and stops rarely

for a side-glance.. in my head.)


I imagine one afternoon

when he outlined

her face on paper

as a monody

to estrangement,

his flat-brush flirting

with her tuning-fork

as he filtered flat lines

of her turbid face.

Or does he sketch from/ of memory;

Worse! Does he have to look away

from his favorite subject to paint?


I wonder if he practices portraits

of people in the subway

only to return to Ada,

like a warlock rehearsing a new

sleight on the streets for free.

Or is she his home-work,

so the world may seep

into his canvas


(So many people drop

pennies on the street,

we keep stepping on luck.)


Or.. is he

turning himself inside out

like we do an old hand-bag

looking for a favorite, lost, pen -

for he can paint rain in motion,

make each transient falling drop

of water freeze to life

and it makes me mad

that he gives her sunglasses


because her eyes are where I see him.

(Before shaking out the insides of that bag,

our fingers forage through forgotten felt

while the grousing pen hides in a crevice.)


I have run out of exhibits

and I still have no proof

that love is repetition

- summer after summer

you & I

will spend afternoons

in museums

keeping ourselves

at hand -

its provenance is our every day.

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