no more pearls

how can words be brave
she goes only so far with her sentences
so far with little imperfect pearls
watching them break away from the strand and roll away
across the museum floor
she pretends to be a paper doll
with those high shoes
moving her away from the earth
where she belongs, but doesn’t want to stay
the lumpy pearls are spinning across the high-gloss parquet
how is it the wood shines so
burdened all day beneath novices and admirers
gilded old masters
their oily stares, thoughtless and menacing
deny her the luxury of concealment
does she flop about the perfect floor
scooping up the renegade low-luster gems
where are her words now
she can’t think on her feet
they are too far from the ground in silly paper dolls shoes
old men are staring
in beaten leathery soles that don’t scuff
every gem ball has disappeared
the broken strand dangles from her thin white sweater
she has no words
she has no pearls
there is one set of old eyes upon her
he knows her heart was once
not made of paper
she wills the oily-eyed man
to kiss her wet cheek and pull her
into the linen where she could rest alongside him
for all eternity

her silent fingers lurch deftly over the velvet rope
she fondles the painting
an elderly gentleman in a white-starched shirt
and shiny black Oxfords asks her to leave quietly
which is fine by her
she has no words left anyway
rembrandtthis is an ink rendering I did in college – the assignment was to copy an old master
I chose Rembrandt