Roberta P. Feins

Joy in her face—   all her senses engaged—
at those times, she wanted to believe
art was history distilled, crystalline  
                                        stalactites formed from drops
or created  
by beings glittering   
in some far corridor
through a curtain
(beasts brushed on cavern walls by the gods.) 
Still, she knew these images were formed
by dirty hands, minds addled by drink  
compelled by pain, not by
the shape of a pear or any mountain. 
Shocking their need
to dig a pit in earth for clay. 
She would lecture me     
on the flaws of each artist
            crippled lonely Lautrec            (why his scenes are so degraded).  
            Modigliani starving                    (syphilitic). 
wanted to save me from the dangers  
of that kind of naked: 
clay-caked hands holding    searing beauty. 

Roberta Feins received her MFA in poetry in 2007 from New England College. Her poems have been published in Five AM, Antioch Review, The Cortland Review and The Gettysburg Review, among others.  Her chapbook Something Like a River, was published by Moon Path Press in 2013. Roberta edits the e-zine Switched On Gutenberg (