by Lea Marshall

Her mottled green skin gleams in the garden,
a beetle scurries down one bronze leg. Above
the piano in a red tunic she’s paused—right hand
lifted, face turned away gazing past the gilded frame.

For months after the painting has dried, she can replicate
the angle of her wrist, her fingers’ exact position in space
opposite her breastbone. At the opening she watches
people murmur before the painting, and out back beneath

the ancient pear tree they exclaim at the towering goddess.
She rubs her haunch and smiles, and only the students
at the art center, with pencil sketches of her hands, or her
charcoaled shoulders sloped with light, folded into the closet

after Drawing One, only they know that you can call her name
but the sound, as if under water, will catch and stop,
mired in paint, and never reach her.

Photo: Lea Marshall
Lea Marshall is an MFA candidate in creative writing at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she is also Assistant Chair/Producer in the Department of Dance & Choreography. Her work has been published in, diode poetry journal, Moon Milk Review, and is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband and two-year-old daughter.