Dougal’s studio, late March
Rowan hugs me.
‘Suki. I’m really really sorry. The group thinks you’ve just had a nasty flu. I’ve been thinking about you a lot. Come to my boat again. Please.’
As I’m unfolding my bicycle at the end, he puts a note in my hand. At home I read his quite good poem.
and I wonder, as I paint her singleness –
so poignantly alone, up there on the podium
in the freezing studio where the rest of us
have kept our coats on, her skin pimpled, bluish,
seeing a quiver ripple up her I wonder whether
taking off her clothes, boots and ear-rings
and ridding her mouth of lipstick (she does this;
wipes it off on her forearm leaving her face stark naked)
whether letting her body be so coldly looked at,
strip lighting so harsh, so unforgiving, whether
letting herself be treated so badly – all our eyes
poking into her in this bare, chilly art-room –
is an act of madness, or a mid-life crisis
or her crying out like a masochist Hurt me.
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