Standing, she’d be nine feet tall.
That dainty right foot
resting on a velvet pillow? Size 13.
The legs? Sequoias.
Heavens, she’s thinking,
who is this enormous child
they’ve parked upon my lap?
Am I expected to feed him?
Eyes downcast, hair in greasy ringlets,
she cocks her head and simpers.
The camera’s on her and she knows it.
She points, not too subtly, to her breast—
an upturned little thing; drapery clings
to its erect nipple. Look motherly,
they’ve told her, but that’s not
a breast engorged with milk.
Behind her there’s nothing
but underpainting. The set painters
have walked away.
Madonna dal collo lungo (ca. 1534–1540)
(The Madonna With the Long Neck)
poems have appeared in Rattle, Nimrod, North American Review, Slant, American Journal of Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Her fifth book will be published in 2022. She has been an Associate Editor for Good Works Review and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. She likes the light on November afternoons, the music of Stravinsky, the smell of the ocean. She hates pretense, fundamentalism, and sauerkraut.
Two Poems in Atticus Review: “Love in Our Eighth
and Ninth Decades” (15 January 2020) and “Later Than I Thought”
(30 October 2019)
I Am Anything in Rattle (11 January 2009)