Portraits in Oil

Clementine Bouvier

If I were to float in a streambed, John Everett Millais
would not paint me with my dead hands to the heavens
and name me Ophelia. And even if Millais refused to name me,
I would still float in the streambed, as I am floating now,
if you would only paint me this way, your brush not a phallic
symbol, but the very moment of thought within the mind
of a god turned deeply into regret. And if a god might
turn deeply into regret, I think I might look something
like Ophelia in the water, floating, with her hands turned
toward the very start of an embrace, which is too harsh a word,
embrace, its second syllable too eager for its own ending,
though the letter m has a falling motion and it does linger
within itself, as I think is right for a figure floating
among the dead and living flowers of this world.