book buff

             Egg tempera on gesso panel, 1994


Taut prose stripped bare


His skin stretched by time, the relaxed lines

Of muscle underneath still

Firm as he sits


Nude on the highest


Tread of the little staircase before the stacks, his body

Twisted reaching upwards for another volume

Titian, Signorelli, Raphael




Forces you always draw upon, mastery one more way for his

Torqued form to know you by, though by now any

Pose you return him to is




Comfortable, his eyes scanning books irregularly sized with brightly

Coloured spines he loves to touch, your brushstrokes witty

Uninvasive as the heart’s quiet




Eggshells cracking while he reads, yolks warmed gliding

From palm to palm, each squeezed

White-free from the snug




Of its membrane into pigment, droplets of water added until balance

Is found so, once dry, nothing crumbles, so he won’t

Crumble, this exposed man


Almost forty


Years with you still more textured, layered, in this instance reaching

Forever across the ages, fingers poised to leaf through

Naked potential


Legacies of the written.