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Venus, Half Dressed

by F. D. Reeve


Wet and nude like a fish, she lies back;
the curve of her spine sings Alive, Alive-o!
With the lips of your eyes you kiss her soft hip,
her thigh, her plump calf, each half-painted toe
                like a magnet drawing you into love.

Is this the woman who turned the heads
of old men in Troy? Achilleus’s prize
Agamemnon stole? Velasquez’s friend
Who, in exchange for immortality,
                slept with the artist every night?

Look! A boy has captured her face
in his mirror. There, three figures meet.
Time flows like water over soft gray silk.
Space fills with her breasts. In the blue distance
                 dawn breaks in the perfect sky.

 

F. D. Reeve, poet and novelist, most recently published The Moon and Other Failures (1999, Michigan State University Press). This April his chamber oratorio The Urban Stampede, with music by Andrew Gant, will have its world premiere at London’s Barbican; next year it will be released in book form. (2000)

 


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