Portrait of an Artist as a Young Lady
by Julia Watson
She stares at herself,
fleshy, naked in the mirror.
She stares at the plump creases
above her elbows, the splotchy tan
applied to her legs and arms—
—how it only brightens the virgin glow
of her mid-body. The thousands
of dollars spent to clip away at her hips,
her butterfly wings. The hundreds
of dollars spent to paint her body, with watercolor
and galaxy dust— a hummingbird,
a sun eclipsing her right breast. The money
she wishes she had to dwarf her bosom
closer to her heart.
The stark blue vein, like a river basin, trickling
down to her pink nipple— a cerulean reminder
of how her body aches to live.
There were the copper stars, of course. One sleeping
right next to her left knee.
As a child, she pretended it was the eye of an elephant
and lifted its trunk in celebration.
And the scars, of course. A long, salmon one
that kissed her elbow and wrist.
It appears as if a worm was sun-seared
into her skin.
There was the dash through her upper lip
from sibling aggression years back
that glowed when she smiled.
She liked that one
She liked it a lot.