She lays a gesso ground. It suits her mood
when graphite flows too swiftly from her mind
to tease a picture; all her senses blind
with blurry marks instead of certitude.
She squeezes from the tube. The pigment slips
past steely lips and into other hues
already on her palette: now she'll use
a scoop of colour on her fingertips
to blend and spread and smooth until at last,
emerging from the canvas as each tint
describes subconscious thoughts and leaves a hint –
a shape appears. A face. She holds it fast.
But portrait stares at painter, filled with glee
at having forced the artist's hand to see.
* * *
LONG WAY HOME
Albert trundles the trolley along the gritted path.
He needs to return to the supermarket
millions of silent miles away.
Scorched light shines on his hunched
and purposeful back. Nobody else
is here to see his mean clarity. He blasphemes
under his breath
when one of the wheels catches
His face is red: part from exertion
and part reflected light from the planet's surface
He knows he will never reach ASDA.