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Portrait of my Fiancé in Black Gloves (1909) 

The gypsy is missing a finger and when she takes
my hand into hers the stub that was hacked off
at the knuckle, brushes against mine and writhes

like a greedy sea fern: I sleep badly that night.
Marc, you are right. Impasto cannot cure me
of this fear. I look over my shoulder at the moon,

a yellow drooling eye, a hag’s broken tooth.
My dress absorbs all the heavenly light off that accusing
finger as I watch it change and turn into a bone.

Finally, I say “no more” to the posing, but you
are all but finished. “Impasto”, I spit at you again.
“Spread the paint thick and use the knife I have taken

to carrying.” You say I simply like the word:
“imposter” and refuse to take direction from me.
At the appointed hour, I arrive wearing my favorite

pair of black gloves. The soft leather is broken in
and pliant just the way a woman gives herself to a man.
Just as the gypsy said I would succumb to you, Love.

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