Flamenco at the Thirsty Bear. Jim Gunshinan

About Jim Gunshinan

 • The Artificial Heart
 • Heroes
 • Geography Lessons
 • Blue Cornflowers
 • Living by Water
 • Upon This Rock
 • The Man Dad Brought
    Home from the War
 • Physics
 • Black and White
 • Not the Mom We Were
    Used To
 • Nothing Sacred
 • Spring
 • Transformation
 • Please Straighten That Up
 • Up from Depression
 • What the Body Wants
 • Compassion
 • Commute
 • Kiss Me
 • Starter Castles
 • Flamenco at the Thirsty
 • A Nature Poem
 • Portrait of a Woman from
   the Gardens of Egypt in the
   First Century


tomb portrait of a woman



Portrait of a Woman from the Gardens
Egypt in the First Century

She looks at us with dark brown eyes
and rose lips applied with beeswax
on linden wood.

She looks as if nothing were between us—
not 1900 years, not nations being born
and dying

not war and famine, millions of lovers
the invention of the printing press
Newtonian and then quantum mechanics.

She could be my neighbor. I would love it
if she moved into the empty apartment
across the hall.

She seems to know something but is not
telling. Maybe it was the painter
who said, Stay still for another minute

for the wax is cooling or maybe
she was in love with the painter and maybe
wasn’t married to the painter and

ready to burst with love and passion
for the painter. Or her children were bumping
her knees, feeling neglected.

She knows something but is not saying it.
Maybe that nothing will change
in 1900 years

and she is looking at me, at us
with compassion. Hoping that we can adorn
ourselves with lovely pearls like hers

that there are still bread and children
and that people still find joy
in each other’s bodies, that

war has ceased and everyone
feels cherished by someone. In this portrait
affixed to her coffin

nothing stands between
her eyes and mine. I feel that we will meet
and I will have to answer for my life.

  © Jim Gunshinan, 2013


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