In Variation

Poem by Dax Avery Hamouth

Art by Amy Ng

in twists and knots
the willow tree
a sigh
stretched out into eternity:

biological processes
mimicked over
named Miracle,
dressed in

red twine bindings,
and cell tide mindings;

fingers crossing
caught bound
in incorrection to one letter 

skin stretches over
muscle and fat:
over easel wood–

am I
painted wrong? 

details of my geometry
clashing with tastes
of different movements, 
who wants cubism in the impressionist museum?

mirrors and gallery eyes that seem scattered everywhere,
they always reflect
small images of mutilation  
in the rounds of their
hatred is inevitable and encouraged;

friendly knives
say to skin the deer
in the frame:
there might be something better

sinew and gore
sometimes preferable
to the skin which  
aches and burns, 

and when they come to clean me
my watercolours come
sloshing off  
like new missing limbs–
another pain, 
one of many

but there isn’t much
room to fall apart
between the borders  
of the fixture.

the yellow gallery lights;
they frame
my painting,  
but they’re tilted wrong,
so only the bottom edge 
that was painted in later,
is illuminated 
the devouring

–all as the nightwatchmen eyes up
the paintings like a pervert
tracing up with auburn  
wood grain walls,
with predator’s

the way he lingers
on the edges of my portraiture
the up and down
of the twists in my
thinking all the time of the cost
of the paint of the golden
name on my side;
oh how it makes
my heart beat
with fear and revelry
O how fire
both burns
and animates.

He goes to work
beneath the window-ceiling-light
of the full moon
plucking my sisters off the walls–

“Oh, just try to steal me.”