Friday, November 4, 2011
The women sat beside me, casually intimate, clearly
together, each a glass of wine and sharing a
charcuterie plate; the insouciance of meat, the
pale pate, shaved speck a marbled red, the dark
lamb sausage lusty and earthen, yellow mustard,
rustic bread. I couldn’t help but notice what was
unsaid in the white margins and unpainted spaces
of their presence. I began to sketch her secretly,
ink scratches really, the shocking blonde, the poised
way she slipped into her barstool, her fashionable shawl
tracing the shape of her body as the arm of a friend
draped over her shoulder, an unconscious comfort.
Each part of her clothing held a pattern, net tights
flowing from Burberry-plaid skirt, rope cable sweater,
and the shawl, pale blue knit, loose tassels so that
in motion she was only motion, your eyes couldn’t
rest in a single place for long, stealth clothing.
Farmers once sealed the wood of barns from
rusted cans of linseed oil, sometimes blended with the
spilled blood of livestock. The resulting tint dried a
ruddy brown-red, a fabric that became rural decor,
barns now signposts between farmland neighbors.
We reveal ourselves through social camouflage,
the weave of our histories etched in sacred origami.
--c. 2011 Martin A. Bartels (working draft)