“Portrait de Madonna; mère de mes fils, vendredi soir” (Madonna portrait; mother of my sons, Friday night)

After some ongoing, sad-eyed cajoling
you agreed to a Friday night date night
not of your choosing or comprehension
posing for nervous artist and sketch pad

you acquiesced to your best black pumps,
resolute: no clenching of rose in teeth –
concession gladly made by your love-struck
middle-aged, middle-class, modicum talent

Renoir with shaky charcoal pencil, prop
linen pad and still skeptical, self-consciously
reclining, propped-on-solitary-elbow model
in the candle-lit tableau before me surpasses

that of my very imaginative faux-artist’s
mind’s eye, having seen you as I have this way
a thousand times…but never quite like this

You are Louvre worthy; a study in pure form
glowing alabaster in flickering votive light minus
gilded frame, stay behind the velvet rope policy
shaky charcoal pencil strokes begin to quiver

across gray newsprint as this erotic charade
plays itself out, much as my artistic talent did
many years before the twenty I have known you
yet you graciously allow me this opportunity;

me – sans beret, palette; you, lacking not shoes
and all I can put on canvas is a stick figure
devoid of any of your revealing, inviting contours,
leaving all to the imagination, nothing to chance