Portrait of a marriage at twenty-two

No smiling, were the instructions for the
Model. He tried to straighten his face. It took
A few tries and even so, the laugh lines will
Add a twinkle that won’t be easy enough to
Trace. Make sure there is enough light and some
Decent shadowing, we were told. So we went
Into the kitchen where the evening sun kindles
The homey concatenation of appliances and plants
Candles and bowls, things to use and things to
Hold, into scattered embers and points of shine.
‘Be careful what you place the subject against.’
The kitchen wall, canary yellow, carries well the
Slants and flow of light. So bright, the green-grey
Eyes that look straight into mine. The gold-brown
Dwindles, puts up a good-natured fight with the
Twenty-two years, the encroaching white. I know
My brush will never catch the warmth of the
Shadows, how they’re just another kind of
Glow. But this portrait is just beginning and I’m
Really more than willing to keep it simple and
Take it slow.


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