Jackie Craven

Author and columnist covering art, architecture, literature and travel.

Jul. 21, 2020
Published on: utulsa.edu
2 min read

She must've felt queasy perched on her artist stool, swooping her brush and palette knife side to side while I swam back and forth inside her.

Much later, after I learned to walk on land, I saw how she glazed buff over blue, dusk over amber – colors stroked on, colors scraped away

as though she couldn't make the paint behave. I think my mother wanted a Rubens scene like the one that inspired Yeats -

beating wings, loosening thighs, a shudder in the loins. But there was the tossing truth of me - always moving, always growing -

and the seasickness, and the smell of pee and turpentine, and the strange heart beating beneath her ribs. Instead of Leda with a swan,

she painted an angry crone, knurled fingers grasping a blur of white feathers. I believe she'd like to wring the bird's neck. Even now,

those fierce eyes follow me across the room.

Finalist, The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, Nimrod Literary Journal