Mind Garden, Heart Garden:

National Portrait Gallery

I have a need to see the painting when no one is looking. The god-
thought if there was such a thing, inconsolable, of Saturday
reaching for Sunday to ride out onto the Indian Ocean like
an argument of starched waves in their coffin-white lace I might
finger as I pass. There are hands in the paintings: raised, pointing,
folded, reaching, reaching    ...    there’s a leporello book intended for
my ex-lover’s breathing, weather balloons like colored severed heads
laughing their way up the sky’s fever-continuing threshold of three
miles withholding this formula for desire. Beside the one body and its
skying figures of speech, night’s impressionist-flecked mask captured
by singing: try to inhale. And again, please. Cough up cadmium twice,
suddenly. Carry the caraway seed page away, fill your sea purse head
with the tiny unborn. Painting, like digging up your garden in the dark,
isn’t spring. Isn’t daddy root, mama bud pullulating for some creation.
Isn’t spring. Isn’t season’s salt measure for your worth. Whoever
told you that lied about what’s to be framed next.

More Poems by Elena Karina Byrne