Talitha cumi

An ekphrasis on D.T. Malboeuf’s She is Love, I Am Dust
© 2007 Lloyd D. Graham
All rights reserved.

This is no easy trump…
Pleasure and pain, perhaps,
Freshly raised from the dead?
A dark card, at any rate:
A gamma in reverse, but
Capital, like the punishment itself;
A gibbet for the hanged man.

She will not meet your gaze, being
Intent upon her semi-crucifixion
Blessed in unlikely snow. And so
This street-light sheds both
Blood and water, mixed
Into an endless world, as though
Fulfilling a rainbow vow.

Her level half-hand gives
A brave benediction. Perhaps a
Semaphore healing is what we all need, so
The one-winged angel must bleed.


Always she looks to her right, unmoved,
Like a Sistine figure reaching out
To an absent God; a salute that nonetheless
Keeps lovers at arm’s length. She cannot know
How her left hand betrays her right, being
Pricked within by the thorns of desire:
A Magdalene undone sub rosa cum cera.

Alone, in atonement she stands
Priapic in penitence. Spare
The anvil of the world: love
Should not pay the price for dust.

The Gioconda of the Laundry
May have to hold her pose forever,
So, cold, she waits;
Patiently, with blushing cheeks,
With rosy eyes and cyan lips, she
Guards her arcane gestation,
Guiding a miracle towards birth.


Sing, child, of right and wrong,
Tell of the voices in your head; with
Past and future hidden in your hands
You say it all, and leave it all unsaid.


This poem is an ekphrasis whose subject is a work painted in 1990 by Daniel Malboeuf, a surrealist based in North Carolina. The painting is not well known, but can be viewed online at the artist’s virtual gallery, where he uses the screen-name ‘kolaboy’: http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/2881843/?qo=


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