Self Portrait, Lee Krasner, 1929

by Lisa Beech Hartz

You don’t have to tell me, Lee Krasner,
I’ve known difficult men. Ones who muscle

themselves about. Who must inhabit all the corners
of the room. Who won’t cut it out until they see you

cry. It seems to satisfy some inner salt wash, some
sweat stain of false effort. And drunks,

I mean that particular sort –
there’s no telling when the evening will end

and there’s no telling what armor will be
breached before the sun returns. What

did they want from us that a pretty face
could have given them? One with a stitchclosed

mouth and dulled eyes. They see us
watching, but never watching in just

the right way. Offer the bud, sure,
but retain the primordial fern.