Akimbo by Sam Barbee

Akimbo by Sam Barbee

I wait forsaken and graceless,

faceless behind the masterpieces,


with dulled pencils, damp brushes −

her other straight tools cleaned, prone

and at attention, ready to answer

the call after the moment

she has bent my waist this way or that.


Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec

immortalized on fired mugs − me

contorted, distorted, a mere

mannequin to set up a sketch,

offer proportions, then put aside

as the lustrous portrait parts take on

muscle, become rounded and wrinkled.

Seurat and his Sunday Afternoon


figures, donning hats and pleated skirts,

reveal life within their pointillism − but I,

with my splintered heart, blend in,

a dusty afterthought, wood-grained and colorless,

yet, at the ready for her godlike touch


to twist my joints into a new garden her pallet

commands in motion, in bloom beneath the gloss.


--Sam Barbee




The Art and Writing of Barbara Rizza Mellin