Anatomy for the Artist

Last night the lawn was bored and mowed itself—
I’d neglected it lately, too busy in the studio
with Francesco, working in clay, splatting mud
onto chicken-wire frames.

Inside the house, I sensed something dying,
ignored it, keen to return to work, grabbed a meal,
slurp of Chianti, then back down the garden, into the shed
where Francesco lounged in front of the fire
turning one side crimson and then the other,
his shiny black curls edged with red light—wait!
I said. Wait—I need to capture that.
Out with a sketch pad, quick, quick, the moment!

Back in the house, the chairs were moving,
having nothing else to do. The books talked quietly,
turned twilit pages.

August rolled into September; Francesco flew
back to Naples to see his mother who was dying.
I returned to my kitchen, my skin hot and dry, flaking with clay.
The kettle had left a note on the table.
‘Sorry about the toaster,’ it said. I went upstairs.
My husband was in bed. ‘Hello?’ he said,
surprised to see me. ‘Finished then? Francesco gone?’
‘For now,’ I said, my mouth full of lust,
my belly still warm with the memory.

Previously published in "How to Win at King's Cross" (erbacce press)