A Poetry Sporadical of Repeating Forms

La Poupée Délaissée (1921) after the painting by Suzanne Valadon

by Moira Egan

She is turning away from the woman, spurning
the matronly touch of soft white Turkish
toweling, she twists, leaning toward the mirror,
left arm the fulcrum, attempting to see clearly
her image there. She’s still (surely) a virgin,

plump sweet breasts but small trace yet of the ferny
triangle below the soft belly, nor of the yearning
that will find its quenching there.
                              She is turning

at this moment from child to what she’s learning,
the crimson duvet cover a voluptuous warning,
the cast-off doll half-on her funeral bier.
Can she see the twinned pink ribbon in her mirror?
(I don’t think so.) She is only concerned
with the woman into whom, unknowing and burning,
                              she is turning.

Painting held by The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, Gift of Wallace and Wilhelmina Holladay, 1986

Moira Egan lives in Rome. Her chapbook, Bar Napkin Sonnets (which is a crown of 24), won The Ledge Chapbook Competition and is available at http://www.theledgemagazine.com/   This poem was written during a residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Umbria.



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