The poet herself, pictured in red

The poet herself, pictured in red
By Grace Sgambettera

There are eighteen stars on my face.

Pick your favorite three,
outline them in blue ink.
They can be mismatching sizes, but use them to connect everything together.

Kindly make the left eye different from the right
It does not matter which left: yours or mine.
People will still pause in the middle of a sentence
and have something new to chirp about
Same song, slightly different tune.

It’s okay if the eyes don’t change color when it rains
that’s the lie of an amateur writer and does not happen to real people.

Please paint with a toothbrush and every easily obtainable shade of blue.
and then paint over all of that with burgundy and some orange color
A total change you’ll know to make when you feel a stranger standing over you
(Or when my lawyer sends you a reminder in the mail.)

Make the canvas minuscule
I want to appear graceful and unreachable
but only from a little far away.
I require some squinting and grimaces from my audience.

My final request is that I’m painted in the red sweater
and that I’m pictured holding a frog in one hand
and a toad in the other.

You’ll get points for attainability
and so will I.

But if it gets late
and the moon rises outside your third story window
and casts a shadow across my likeness
a lipstick-stained napkin would be accepted
in lieu of my proposal.

Just make sure to color in the stars.

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