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Lying Next to You in Bed, Reading Art History,

I Come Across Fun Facts That Reflect on You, on Me

by Kathleen Rooney

Ingres stuck an extra vertebra
in the neck of his Odalisque.

Stepped back, said, “Such
are the risks we take

for love.” You start every
sentence lately with, “You

know what would be
sexy, is if...”
in his later years, was so

scared of—          He
refused to hear the word

spoken. His diaries show
him neurotically obsessed

with his own body.
                               I try
hard to be pretty. Genet

said “Beauty has no other
origin than the wound.”

I know how simply
this thrust to re-form,

to improve the flesh ends
up de-forming.
               “You know
what would be sexy, is if

you slipped your clothes
off, dirty like a stripper?”
was an assiduous frequenter
of bordellos.
purveyors of the sex
you think you want, always
work against nature.
push towards death.
once screamed at a sitter,
“You wretch! You should hold
yourself like an apple.

Do apples move? Do they?
You are disturbing the pose.”


Kathleen Rooney’s first book is Reading With Oprah (University of Arkansas, 2005). Her poems are forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review and Main Street Rag. She is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press. (5/2006)

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