While Painting a Fall Landscape, I Imagine
drifting off on this bed of fallen leaves,
eye-level with a birch branch bowed low,
the end of its gold limb dipped
into the creek, reflections both in and out
of focus, angled, but softer than Duchamp’s Nude.
Startled awake, I wonder if thoughts
can be harbingers. Did mine, just moments ago,
sense this unexpected presence?—
this knowing face suddenly leaning
across the canvas, peering from the trees,
its bottomless gaze emerging
from the wet skin of burnt sienna
and linseed oil. Is this how you come back?
Your portrait paints itself? The creek
starts to ripple now, then swirls into a rush
of soapy water, into that morning
of your silhouette darkening the shower curtain,
and the watch coming off my wrist.