Self-Portrait with Bandage – 1889 – Ann Howells

          I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it
          with all my heart. – VVG
Recently, I’ve observed Death watching
from the shadow, chair beside my bed,
window of a passing carriage —
a gauzy figure at vision’s edge.
His is not a fearsome countenance,
coat crumpled and frayed as my own,
footwear scuffed,
and the hand he extends is calloused,
steady, comforting.
I consider asking him to pose,
but sensing my intent he shakes his head,
so, I resort to painting myself
as I have so often before
with various accoutrements:
pipe, hat, bandage.
I use the Impressionists’ loose brushstrokes,
but retain heavy outlines
adapted from Japanese woodblocks.
My hands tremble and vision dims;
I fear this portrait may be my last.
Ann HowellsAnn Howells’ work appears widely. She’s edited Illya’s Honey since 1999, recently going digital. Books: Under a Lone Star (Village Books) and Cattlemen and Cadillacs, anthology of DFW poets which she edited (Dallas Poets Community). Chapbooks: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag), Letters for My Daughter (Flutter), and Softly Beating Wings, winner of William D. Barney Memorial Chapbook Contest for 2017 (Blackbead Books).