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She Paints Him

fills in his lips with different reds
daubing the brush for a full mouth.

He pales while she mixes a wash
for his skin: cream, watered pink.

She tips a round brush with catchlights,

dips the edge of a filbert
in thinned umber
to define lip ledges
the high line of his cheeks.

She is brief with background
quick sweeps of dilute green
to hint at walls he papered.

His last breath hauls rain,
warmed leather.

She slides a hand beneath him,
finds his shirt soaked in heat
where his blood has pooled.

Paint exhales its linseed.
Colours begin to fix.

Elizabeth Parker

In Her Shambles
Seren Books

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