after Naturaleza muerta tres filetes de salmón, Francisco de Goya (Spain) 1808-1812 Not functioning muscle anymore, more the memory of its strength, a vigor I could never hold if it were alive. Once, I cupped a minnow in my hand. Its body writhed like the tongue of a liar caught red-handed. It wriggled until it slipped from a crack by my thumb. My ghost-white palm then empty. Once I cupped a bee loaded with gold pollen, weighted and kept from graceful flight. It should have, but it didn’t sting. It was barbarian to tap the pollen off its legs. An artist once chalked me in pastels with my brothers. The three of us, three portrait heads posed, fighting not to move a muscle. Our rendering is boxed in cardboard now, and something blocks me from unpacking it— how easily the artist clapped his hands when he was done, blew off the dust the color of a cheek slap, and warned us not to smudge the rosy flesh he’d crimsoned as our faces.
About the Poet
D. Walsh Gilbert is the author of Ransom (Grayson Books). A Pushcart nominee and winner of The Ekphrastic Review’s 2021 “Bird Watching” contest, she’s currently preparing an all-ekphrastic poetry collection. Her work recently appeared in Gleam, The Dillydoun Review, Quartet, and the anthology, Waking Up to the Earth, among others. She serves with Riverwood Poetry Series and is co-editor of the Connecticut River Review.
For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.