Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

For Dora Maar

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

For Dora Maar

Article excerpt

My neck is sunburned

just on the right side, where the sun

shone from the east all morning.

I lay on the Picasso towel,

right on the face of his "Weeping Woman"

who never stopped weeping, who died

last week at eighty-nine, and when

the newspapers got the story later

every one of them called her his lover

and talked, in one way or another,

of how she was broken by him and went mad,

and ended the events of her life there,

but lived on fifty years more.

I read the obituary, sitting right on her face.

The paper blew in a hot wind;

the print was dancing, yellow and purple

dots in a compensatory strobe; she had a green

tear on her cheek, a blue nostril.

I thought nothing could touch me like that,

that I knew how to master need.

I wore my innocence like a shield,

so I lay down and ground my body

into that weeping woman. The hot sand

under us was moving with my hipbones,

shifting, sifting, but never soft,

always rock; however fine,

however mutable, at the beach you lie on rock

that presses back and makes you ache

if you lie still, that is only soft

if you keep moving, making it give way

under you. …

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