Johannes Vermeer, Study of a Young Woman, 1665-67
Some man said you weren’t as beautiful as
that floozy in a turban, but at least you have
a measure of gracefulness to offset your plain
features, thank goodness for virtue.
I had a laugh when he compared you to Mona
as if you had anything to do with her Leonardo
amused, together in that imaginary space
admiring your pearl face
from the corner of my eye.
what you know that I don’t is worth a moment
the shape of Vermeer’s dirty brush and maybe
not by choice
and how to sit statue-still, a porcelain lady
hide your teeth and your dark womb thoughts
relinquish even your name
for father’s art.