Mudlark Flash No. 36 (2006)

Lea Graham

Lea Graham's work has been published in the Notre Dame Review, the Worcester Review, and Near South. Recently she received the Kinnicutt Award, a travel grant for women artists, with which she traveled in Costa Rica, “all stars and sea turtles.” An interview she conducted with the Chicago poet Michael Anania is forthcoming in Paper Streets, and her chapbook CALENDAR GIRLS will be out soon from STANZAS Press. A native of Northwest Arkansas, “home of the Razorbacks or C.D. Wright, depending on your tastes,” she teaches poetry and travel writing at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Paris & Oenone

                                       After the painting by Pieter Lastman
                               Bridges to Art, College of the Holy Cross
                                                      and Worcester Art Museum

Country faces. She’s between sit and lean,
into or against him, yielding her body’s weight
and breadth—no small thing for a woman these days.
His left hand half cups half clutches her breast,
reclining into landscape,
a pleasure to himself....

Not sure I would like
being half naked and felt up in a pasture
for the faithful dog and farm couple’s view, birch
tall behind sown okra, summer squash;
but his thigh and bicep are muscled like Brando
as Kowalski and I want to feel him right back, rock hard,
immutable, amazed at how much I love
men and careless to the bad
times around the bend:
                                          goats and bagpipes,
dark vines lolling in darkness,
                                                                    that other woman
shining, unearthly          far off
                                                            and out of sight

Venus Impudique

                                           after the Venus of Willendorf
                                 Museum of Natural History, Vienna


Her etched labia—shorn,
exposed paleolithic
mont de Venus in limestone—
braided, faceless, footless—
                                          a wildness
said found in terrace
overlooking the Danube,
near town. She had traveled,
fashioned elsewhere. In situ,
a small delight to palm.


A contradiction, as beauty
is or can be. Delicate or
adipose, unruly
and coy—the belly, breasts, pressed thighs

encased. Surrounding her,
our feet shift then shuffle—impossible
to pull out, away from abstruse
                                         This our story
before story: magna mater?
Divine whore? We’d love to lay
her, word and wordless, in
our hand—
                                          look      touch      feel?

Copyright © Mudlark 2006
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