Monday, November 7, 2022

S.B. Watson


I was naked when he put brush to easel,
Not a robe draped round the curve of my breasts
Or the line of my back.
And when he was done, he turned the canvas
And my naked reflection was a burning sun,
A lonely star chasing after the Pleiades,
Not with the pack, but following after their trodden track,
Discarding its stellar mantle, hot and red,
Like my naked body throwing off the covers of his bed,
Like me standing then before that artist (now he’s dead).

My husband never asked about Aldebaran,
He just hung it on our Montecristo wall,
And watched me as I led them down the hall
And stopped beneath my sister sun,
And bared the bruises from the beatings
I myself had done.

A smile. A look. If they’re lucky a touch
—only ever the most chaste brush—
With the knuckles of my hand,
Painting that stupid puppy-stare across their faces.
A pause, a breath, our bodies close together where we stand,
The moment stopping time,
And then I leave, and my heart races—
—If they follow, they are mine.

They said that he was guilty. As he was.
He killed my husband. For that he must atone...
So, he sat there eyes down-lowered,
Like a coward, all distempered and alone.
But when he rose to leave, he lifted up his head,
And met my gaze, and smiled,
For he remembered...
The Montecristo wind, the warm sea air, the wine,
The painting hung behind me as I took his hand in mine...
Yes, he met my gaze, and smiled.
He would take it like a man,
All for these eyes of mine that shine the light
Of old Aldebaran.

S.B.'s YouTube video reading of "Widow":

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S.B. confesses: "I am an occasional amateur astronomer, and while I don’t get as much time to observe as I would like, the stars are often in my thoughts. Centering a femme fatale’s concept of self in a sinister portrait just occurred to me one day, while my mind wandered."

S.B. WATSON is a writer from Keizer, Oregon. When he’s not spending time with his family, practicing historic English quarterstaff, or playing Bluegrass guitar, he can be found in his library, constructing mystery novels and writing peculiar pieces of short fiction.

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