after the painting by Gustav Klimt


You stir, unfurl from our sheets,

cheeks scumbled with sleep, to swathe

in satin, silk. I refuse to dress, but spend

the day nude and pale against these walls.


All buttocks and hips, you offer your hand

as I streak past, strum the bow of my back

with your palm, the left, and with the other,

thumb my nipple as if it were braille;


language written only for your touch,

read through the soft pad of a finger

or flit of your tongue as you bow

to my breast, taking its small weight.


On your knees, you trace the scar which seeps

down my thigh like wax, as if to heal, then scan

my legs for pocks, moles, flecks to count

and christen; Nova, Leo, Sol.


Later, we strain our tea, needles of jasmine,

which I sip with stomach bared, doubled

over itself in two full folds. Then, laughing,

you step from your layers of cloth,


sit beside me, skin to skin, until, wooed to bed,

we hold each other; a coil of cool limbs,

girlfriends, painting one another

on the canvas of our linen sheet.

unpublished poem, © Ella Duffy 2019, used by permission of the author.

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