Kathleen Rabbers


For the portrait I’m delegated to the sidelines
yet I’m there, big as my dwarf self
in the front
on the right
near the dog.
Yes, I’m in the customary dress, the bustle, the trim
but I’m different.
My large face, my stringy hair
I’m not bowing or be-ribboned like
the others, las meninas, the ladies-in-waiting.
I have dressed the little princess, that is my job
quietly, no casual talk from me
no forced friendship, or worship
I resent her, why should I not?
I’ll do my job and retire to my attic quarters
the castle is cold.

The princess turns slightly for the portrait
others hover
I look straight ahead
I dare the painter to include me, misshapen, hopeless
a tension between us.
Why should I worry about happiness?
I don’t like the sneering painter
so clever as to paint himself into our scene
what is the vantage point?
I’ll curve my hand just so, peering out
as if I’m not ashamed of my jowls
when he’s done, I’ll walk with
my short side-to-side
away from them, to prepare
another dress, another crinoline, other small pointed shoes
for the little princess. For tomorrow.

Kathleen Rabbers is an emerging poet and has been published in Artifactory, and Immigration and Justice for our Neighbors. She lives near Three Rivers, Michigan.
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Blogger Craig said...

Now, THIS is poetry!

1:18 PM  

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