“Two Women at a Window: an Ecstatic Ekphrastic”

Those motionless dark eyes gazing out between the layers of oil and pigment and top coat, painted 400 years before my mother even dreamed of me. Eyes—frozen, yet something daring swimming underneath the ice that separates us between the world of flesh and oil. Beautiful, lovely, daring girl. We must both be about 16, children of Venus, still love shy.

You, poised out the center of the window of some-sort-of-somewhere in Spain. While I, for hours stand before you transfixed. Stooping, tip-toeing, leaning a little to the left, to the right just to soak you in from every position (and maybe give you all my best angles as well).

Would you fawn at the cut of my cheekbones? Play with the coarse curls of my cropped black hair? Is the woman laughing next to you your mother? Would you ever introduce me?

I’m sorry in advance my dear, I can be quite crude, but I swear parents can’t resist my charm.

I’m a yearner, I can sense that you are too. Peach lips pursed as they are, hand pillowed against your cheek, black eyes driving straight ahead through time and endless showrooms without a care for anything but lilies and dappled light.

I wonder if you look like this to all the museum wanderers who pass under your gold-gilded tower. I doubt it. We all live a fiction, but it takes a lover to fall for fantasy.

Dust motes gather around you, and I’m stricken with envy that they may touch the edges of your knuckles, but if I stuttered my humid breath too close they’d escort me out the back.

Time passes without regard to reality, as it tends to in museums. A guard coughs uncomfortably into her hand and informs me the gallery closes in ten minutes—“so you’d better think about, uhh, wrapping it up here”—so rudely interrupting our rendezvous. I depart with a curt nod, stumbling around nudes in the statue garden with little regard, my mind still swimming in your bare clavicles.

Even eight years later, I can clearly see your pink face breaking through the haze of incense smoke, all the forgotten good times, everything I wish I could forget; unchanged and innocent, still that same pin-curl smirk.

With you, I’ll forever be that trembling 16-year-old girl, desperate to reach out, to memorize the touch of another that yearns so plainly that I’m still neck-deep in our pool of desire.

Yet, here we stay, gazing out our windows at each other as the hours pass us by, locked together in longing until the guard ushers us off to reality once again.