The Male Nude

AIDS

I didn’t know whether I was a muse
Or a model, I only knew I was the reclining man

And you, were the stroke-maker. You stroked
Your elbow with a musical bow, only to flow back up

Your elbows were like strings on a weaving machine
Going and to and fro, muling together

The pieces of honey brown rusty skin
Golden at places and patchwork groves on others

She took her time, and I like a naked child
Going out of an open door, could feel ice crystals

On my flat bottom and the snowy wind was
Caressing the small under-growths on the chest

And I looked at her, her eyes like Aurora borealis
Perhaps even more erotic when you consider

She only had something stringed together on her back
Perfect symmetry elaborating her sugar loaves

And I could see her nakedness, flicker against
The scented candle on the table and the brush head swiveling

Like a wandering butterfly, not knowing which color
Hid the sweetest nectar. And my wife made love

On the canvas, and I could see the hemp rustle
In soft spasms, a little whisper creeping through

The cleft under the cloth. It was as if the canvas was
Calling her name, louder than I could ever scream.

And I couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted to be the canvas
On which all her colors would make a rainbow appear

As if she had rained on me all night and I was soaked
As an umbrella under the monsoon. And she reclined

And I sank like a broken hull, floating a little. Dyspnea stood by me
Until ecstasy exiled me, as I looked at the painting before me.

I could see brown in all his splendor. Like Demerara sugar
Had caremalized on the tip of the brush and she had

Smudged sweet caramel all over my bronze. I was the ugliest man
I knew, but seeing myself on canvas was a beautiful epiphany.

I finally saw her vision lying naked on canvas. A trompe l’oeil
As slender as the rusty bristles that painted her.

And I knew she loved me – all of me. And her love was a male nude.
Too naked to be ever clothed by illusion.

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Author: meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, American Journal of Poetry, Kitaab, Eastlit and Ravens Perch. He mixes science with poetry for a living, when what matters is the expression of both DNA and words into something serendipitous. Although an Australian citizen, Dilantha is domiciled in Sri Lanka, his country of birth.

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