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.