Portrait

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Paint me October yellow with its hush of leaves
clinging to branches, its startling reds
that burn with the promise of winter.
Those last days when the trees haunt
an Atlantic sky. Weary guests at
a fancy dress ball, swaying with the wine
and the lateness of the hour.

Let me wear glass slippers
and hide inside the pumpkin mask.
The three faces carved in the window
with their lurid grins and flickering candles.
Scoop out my insides. Make me hollow
as a skeleton. Draw my bones in chalk.
And if you must show my scars,
let them be written on water
as it flows under the weeping willow,
a ghost of a signature.

I am not fond of mirrors,
photographs, harsh reflections.
I’d rather be that trick of the light
in the far corner of a room
that was possibly an accident
or once painted white.
Show me not as a still life
but pouring seed through my fingers.
A scarecrow of a girl,
something of a vampire,
someone who has eaten fireworks,
perhaps the tiniest hint of a smile.

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