Words of the Devil

after Paul Gauguin

Something now turns her away from you.
Something not quite of the violent blooms at her feet,
glutted around the spaces like words, unravelling

their lurid coils: incisive, precise – still sharp.
Here in the space between trees, where shadows
unpiece the puzzle of light, speech is overcome,

too.  She covers her pursed lips with crumpled surrender,
as evening creases the absence of leaves into faces,
turning her face into shadow.  And something now splits

her body, carves lines that unspeak her.  Your speech.
She covers herself from your deathmask stare:
your eye, your fingers, tongue, brush, your oiled knife.

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