“Venus Gets a Life”
Dawn Price

Carol Brendsel

Regarding Stanley Spencer's Painting:
   Double Nude: The Artist and His Second Wife

He sits cross-legged,
holds her body draped over him
as if she were the host, his body
an outstretched tongue.

Her hands hang as a royal fop's,
indifferent to his peasant desire,
her eyes steel pellets of hauteur.

His organ, slightly aroused
lies cradled in the hollow
where his coarse hair gives way to fine,
his expression that of a penitent's.

And undone ribbon dangles.
She slips out from the drape of transparent silk,
voluptuous breasts, thighs, beneath the hem
her furtive mons.

Disguised as something soft,
she will not consummate.

Distorted, she is painted yellow-green for her lies,
the acrid taste implied by his mouth.

Let him gnaw on the iron of her will.
She loves another so like herself.