by Owen Lucas

Marie Derrien Lagadu, 1890

She sits in a fauteuil of light wood
Backed in mauve, with embroidered
Flowers. Behind her, a side table on
Which rests a large canvas of green
And brown foliage, a cotton napkin,
A table knife with an ivory handle,
A formal glass of a clear blue. Fruit
Seem to balance on the edge of the
Napkin : a russet apple, a guava, an
Innocuous and overripe avocado. It is
As if each object had been stationed in
A condition of absolute independence,
No relation seeming to subsist between
One facet and another. Our lady wears
A long skirt and a flamboyantly violet
Jacket pulled in softly at the waist by
A ceinture buckled in silver. A bloom
Of white extends across her awkward
Chest, and her hand lies passively at
Her side, three of its fingers joined by
A kind of preoccupied tension. The
Same shows in her homely visage,
Where overlarge ears ride alongside a
Face constructed as if to give the sense
Of a constant slight irritation. Madame
Wears her lips as if longing to be rid
Of them. If there is a soul of maladroit,
It lives in the frail casing of her skull.

And yet she is tender : there is a certain
Florid beauty to her. Love overcomes,
Wherever there is a body to command.

Owen Lucas is a British poet living in Norwalk, Connecticut. He grew up in rural Cambridgeshire, and began writing as a student at the University of London. His work has featured in Petrichor Machine, The MacGuffin, Psychic Meatloaf, Lines & Stars, Clinic, You Stumble Into a Room Full of Poets, and Third Wednesday. His first chapbook, containing twenty-five poems inspired by the paintings of Daumier, Serusier, Gauguin and others, will be published in 2013 by Mountain Tales Press.