(From the series “SELF PORTRAITS” after paintings by Max Beckmann)

And so I held it softly to my chest,
firmly, but with no fear of it breaking
for this is how it is with things we take for granted.
I did not look down, thinking I knew what was reflected there;
myself – only more so, as in a lover’s eyes.
What do I see there now?
The richest colors. Glimmers of you
which I painted quickly, cradled heedlessly,
spending hours instead creasing my forehead
into a set of elegant birdwings, angling the door
onto blackness so the future could darken my eyes.
And that mouth. Strange that gripping a brush with determination
can produce such resignation. If only I had looked
into that third eye – for though it had no ties to visions
it knew my heart, was my heart.