David is leaning into her odor,
into the acid bath of the copper plate.
The crosshatches of his hat are thin
as the villi of his small intestine.
They are a hair’s breadth cinching
the spoor of a contested sex.
David crouches over a wall.
His courtiers huddle and grimace.
Their eyes are askance spiders.
Bathsheba’s melon head glowers.
She smirks with a stunned
and sleepy resignation
while a barebreasted, contorted maidservant
sponges her calves and ankles.
Off to the side, a face like a half moon
coined in mid-November
prays for rashness.
Its mouth is an em dash,
a brace of hyphens fused to treacheries
more bugeyed than the Renaissance.
Bathsheba’s accordion sleeves pucker.
David hovers over her air like a puppeteer.
His right eye floats, minuscule, askew.
It is the charcoal of his left eye’s gloating ember.
Harp and psalmboard flank his wrist.
One of Bathsheba’s hands
grieves with dereliction.
Thumb and finger of the other hand
measure her hidden pubic mound
as if to say, O King, here is the pasture
of your green ovation.
Her breasts are flattened,
squeezed upwards, pungent and smarting.
In response to David and Bathsheba by Pablo Picasso, Lithograph,
Dimensions: 65.3 x 48.4 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts.