Atelier Mouche

It is easy to underachieve here,
even possible to enjoy it. Awkwardly,
a woman stretches out stiff limbs in canvas,
Then relaxes, resigned to muted oils;
it is true apart from the eyes – too sad,
sloping, sliding down like terracotta tiles.
We turn to bright honey-bees trapped on pots
and sunflowers top-heavy with seeds
and breasts brimming on the rims of cups.
Despite her air of melancholy she jokes;
we belly-laugh with chalky nudes,
spreading sandaled toes in the joss-scented air.
Ripe goats' cheese and cherry tomatoes ooze on our fingers;
we find a circle of shade, the purple shadow of a fig tree.
A stone wall is starting to collapse.
A customer arrives; the first today.
She jams a note in a tin in an unlocked drawer
and announces the vernissage.
We kiss twice. The layers of summers
show through the glaze of heat on her skin.
A fly buzzes; there is always a fly in the studio.
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