hidden faces

“The young woman with slow care detached from her light skirt a clinging twig.”-James Joyce, Ulysses

A twig clinging to a skirt, a poem entangled in the thicket
that’s where we met, an Arts mixer, in an artist’s studio
filled with sculptures, paintings, unfinished canvas
pieces of wood, metals, ropes and beaded strings hanging
from the ceiling, other things scattered on the floor,
drinks and finger foods served on top of wine barrels.
You snacked at home on pistachios, listening to light
jazz,reading a book with Beethoven’s
ordinary habits that becomes familiar
your refrain is optional, changes with mood.
We talked about Christina’s World and the wide landscape
how Wyeth expressed strength in place of hopelessness,
the averted face of the Young Shepherdess,
her hands behind her holding a twig
what’s she thinking you asked.
Our talk extended to Picasso’s Girl before a Mirror
seeing another face, shifting a new
dimension of compressed space, curves and angles.
Ulysses fascinated you. You thought
Joyce hid poems in the narrative.
I browsed the Portrait maybe twice,
Ulysses I have not touched.

We did not know that migrating birds
feasted on spawning horseshoe crabs
and didn’t dwell on other subjects.
We circled questions, answers comes in listening
but honesty, you said, is more important than skill.
We didn’t avoid the others but became an island by ourselves
In the midst of social commotion, it seemed time went swiftly,
we said goodbye before we could refill our glasses
half of the crowd had left, we were oblivious.
I hope to see you again, I said.
Maybe, you said, find the hidden faces,
the girl entangled in the thicket.

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