Wednesday, December 17, 2008



She was the third wife
of a Florentine noble who brought her to sit for Leonardo.

So quiet and modest,
she inspired a very subtle interpretation.
And so he smiled at this good fortune.

Mona was sketched and erased, painted and highlighted.
Luxuriant pleats of Chinese silk enfolded her wrists.
A diluted brown and a thickened umber underlined
the shadows of her face.

Every visit brought a fresh coloration.
Amethyst blended into purple,
as Leonardo's brush deepened the creases of her gown.

The face again, with the touch of a smile.
A muted lavender curved over her cheeks.
Light from the leaded glass window
rounded her bosom and blushed her skin.
The artist let a speck of gold enter his palate,
and so he did caress the Lady with his brush,
his fingers lingering on this touch.

The reflection in her hazel eyes showed Leonardo
painting his muse for days and weeks and months.

Yet, too square the chin, too much like his.
At once an unsoiled brush dipped into yellow ochre
outlined an oval, and a delicate heart of a face
was at last fashioned and set to remain.

Three years posed before the window,
her words, like a soft breath, told no stories,
revealed no secrets. Leonardo's mouth softened
to mimic an impression of silent Mona's mouth.

His parted hair, now graying, touched his shoulders.
He stroked her curls on the canvas with bronze
and touched her silent lips.
Suddenly Leonardo's hand brushed the painted mouth
and a blotch of ginger paint stayed on his thumb.

He blended it into a rose,
then painted onto it the smile
that he knew much longer than three years.

c2008 Two Ghosts all rights reserved

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