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Rendering by Jo Pitkin

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Rendering

Pitkin, Jo

The whole month of October, over and over, 
he paints her: gold dust of bees, red ocher,

egg glair, titanium dioxide, indigo, madder, 
a dilution of murex, acacia gum, oil of flax.

Spark. Flame. The drum of avid concentration.

With weasel-hair brush, he paints her, nothing 
but her, daubed and dipped half smile, dark blue

eyes, calcimine skin, resinous cascade of hair. 
In fly-wing strokes and dabs, he reins in a lash,

chocolate-colored mole, fast pulse, a murmur, 
spidery red webs and nodes, a germ, stray fibers.

He holds the canvas like stretched skin on a frame. 
Turps his smeared fingers. Wraps his cleansed

palette knife back into its burlap hive. When at last 
he unveils his finished Portrait of Jo, nothing is there.

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