Painting

Sitting before her mirror, she paints herself. Her eye tracks the external workings of her mind, the ghost made flesh in wrinkles and a faint frown, her mind spiralling down a staircase of itself, vertiginous, into the pit of all the things she thinks she wants and thinks she needs, spiralling out of seashells into empty hells and the appalling peals of final bells, spiralling nowhere maybe just out of sight past the house at the end the pub on the right the tower block blocking the sky a place where land and water meet and mingle huge sea birds lost along the wastes scouting for familiar waves a place where matter is neither one thing nor another and never itself where people get lost and get wasted and lose themselves and try to work things out in their minds but they can’t their minds spiralling into dark tomorrows and smudged horizons sifting through caws and squawks for anything resembling a human voice and words that could be understood shifting in the creamy void artfully framed by two black slashes each a bird carrying death in its wings panicking towards the smudged horizon and in the foreground something that might be real or that takes as its starting point the representation of something that might be real a face her face framed by the black mass of her hair her frowning face sadder than hope looking out from the canvas into other eyes that flit from mirror to canvas to mirror flitting like birds tearing the horizon with razor wings flitting from canvas to mirror to canvas fleeing stillness flying from the stasis of the scene as it would appear to an observer she just sitting there sitting for hours her eyes moving but little else her arm her hand describing lines and curves guiding a paintbrush falling now and then into the murky palette rising again making little lines she just sitting there while a second she watches from the mirror and a third gathers on the canvas not one woman three women distinct but the same the same woman in three bodies and who could tell which came first which was authentic the woman in the painting the woman in the mirror the woman in the room looking at both looking like both. 

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