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She is poised
With features stiff, wobbling only slightly
An aching smile spreading beneath two cherry-blossom cheeks
And a rosy, perfumed face.
His hard, beady eyes study her frame,
Holding the picture in his mind and the paint-splotched brush in his hand,
His mouth hard as stone and his hair an unkempt halo about his lined face.
Her figure, knotted in swaths of lace accented satin,
Euphonious plumage of white, lavender and rose.
Her feet encased in painful crystal shards that hover over the marble floor.
And bronze curls in flowing cascades off the top of her head.
Beads of water, tinged with salt and odor
Roll off her shoulders, soaking the heavy fabric.
Her shoulders droop, her hands stiffen, her knees slacken.
Heat builds up inside the conical dress, lava in a broiling volcano.
Corners of the eyes draw up and lips unfold
As smile morphs slowly into grimace.
He looks up.
She summons the remainder of her grace and womanly charm
And reworks her smile
Which she unfolds like a peacock's tail
He reluctantly grunts acceptance.
His brush dips into a messy reservoir of colors, a captive rainbow
As he turns from her to her damp doppleganger.
Stillness outward, but beneath the beauty she trembles.
He strokes the picture carefully
And she can feel his brush like a phantasmal chill
Running over every inch of her skin.
Chills ride up her spine
As she is captured and sentenced to life on a canvas.
She is poised,
But trying not to breathe.