In her new book of poems, Reviewing the Skull (WordTech Editions), Judy Rowe Michaels has written the following “To Picasso’s Melancholy Woman“:
I want to sink into the deep-blue shadow
that falls across your cheek as you turn away
from us and the window, your throat funneling dark
heavier blue into shoulders that carry sorrow
down to the chest’s concavity. Let me
hide where the gathered blue finally
goes black–in your lap. Empty madonna,
you cradle melancholy, but its shapeless weight
spills out of the frame.
My fear’s distilled
to one dark spot so small, under the x-ray’s blue,
it tells us nothing yet but watchful waiting. Almost
what you and I do here, you nursing
at invisible breasts some loss
not even your painter knows, that can’t
grow less or deeper than the paint allows.
All you can do is watch for me to give
your pooled blues the weight of mortal fear.