As If It Might Be Cold || Donna Fleischer

Bouguereau’s oily angel,
Egalité devant la mort,
also known to us as
Equality before Death, the one who

hurries to hover at the earthen table
            that moment of sundown with
            outstretched wings already darker than
            arms conveying just a gossamer white sheet of
            lengthening shadows over    half-closed   eyes   lips

to cover the naked pallor the pelvic
mound of lustrous brown hair and
feet   flopped   apart   like
loosed flower petals

to cover the one last look of life bearing
death or to warm as if asleep and
            about to open eyes to
            a darkening plane of clouds
            an effort to awake(n) or let be
            Egalité devant l’amour

Egalité devant la mort, oil on canvas painting, 121 x 269 cm, 1848. William Bougeureau.
Musée d’Orsay Collection. Public Domain.

Donna Fleischer is the author of five poetry books, most recently < Periodic Earth > (Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press) and Twinkle, Twinkle (Longhouse Publishers). Her widely anthologized poems appear in journals, including Contemporary Haibun, EOAGH, Kō, Marsh Hawk Press Review, Naugatuck River Review, Otoliths, and Spiral Orb. She received the support of a Tupelo Press – Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) residency and the University of Hartford Poetry Award. Donna may be found at donnafleischer.wordpress.com 

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