after Colette’s Claudine in Paris
She contemplates the longhand of her
cat Fanchette whose tortoiseshell
is scribbled in Tyrian beauty.
Nourished by eggs, deprived of toast,
she spirals on a chaise in Intimisme.
Her brain fever wanes, she recollects
Montigny. Sluggish beside la
bibliothèque, her malaise transcribed
in looseleaf diary.
Immunity gilded by Aunt Coeur’s pearls.
Flesh of her cheeks stained fleur-de-lis,
ghostly lips, moonflower ears.
An inner voice more crow quilled than her père’s.
A study of what lingers in a water lily mirror,
charmed by the coil of her rebuilt shell.
The illness deliquesces, her coif deckle-edged,
the antennae of pears
eyespot her wallpaper.
Chuka Susan Chesney, a graduate of Art Center College of Design, is an artist, poet, short-story writer, and editor. Her award-winning paintings and sculpture have been shown in galleries across the country. Her poems and short stories have been published on three continents. Author’s anthology of poetry and art Lottery Blues, coedited by (the author’s friend) will be published by Little Red Tree in 2020.