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  • Across the room,
    on an easel,
    I am working on a portrait.
    You can’t see beneath
    the layers on layers
    working out the stance,
    the angle of an arm,
    creases in a faded pair of jeans,
    the curve of breast;
    all my questions about light and color
    as I feel my way
    along the seam joining seeing and creating.

    People speculate about Mona Lisa’s smile
    I think about the man trying to say just this and no more
    about the thousand thousand lines he drew to find the one he needed
    all that for a smile and then he had the eyes
    I think to tell you,
    so you’ll see,
    be able to track the changes
    read the pages between the drafts.
    Let you see the roots and trunk,
    the branching of this thought,
    but as I tell I find words are like leaves
    and obscure the vital architecture of a tree
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