On My Body As Proof

By | 1 September 2023

I eat paintings,
ingesting masterpieces
so they won’t fade,
eternally preserved in the gut of me.
I scrape paint chips from my molars.
a field of grass
or a sombre lady
imprinting on my skin from the inside out;
you can see tattoos stamped
inverse, in me.
van Gogh ate yellow paint
and made a self-portrait on his tongue
of a dying man.
his rotting bones remind me:
not every piece of art is paired with a description,
some walk backwards,
emerge from the soil,
or live on the body,
are handfuls of salt
and mouthfuls of sand.
you have to learn to spot them
without a label lauding them.
someday a man will cut me open and find
half of the National Gallery
caught in my oesophagus,
the stains of lead paints
and poppy pollen,
cave paintings in the cavern of my ribs;
my body a relic, peeling,
a testament to art and time.
the mortician will take one look,
and once they remove the blood
and the gas from me,
they will wonder,
like all great art
and sculpted things,
what I was thinking, and
what it all means.

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