portion of the artwork for Jeanann Verlee's poem

mother, if in a museum
Jeanann Verlee

after an artist’s digital rendering titled “Medea”

“I shall leave the land and flee from the murder of my dear children
and I shall have done a dreadful deed.”
—Medea, by Euripides, 431 B.C.


An artist butchered your face. Genius.
The curators mounted it in a massive gold baroque frame.
Hung it on a white wall in the new corridor of the south wing.
You.
Five feet wide and me, small as my own freckles,
staring up at the huge canvas.
Your crater eyes dance in a way they never did down here on the ground.
I bet you just love your new immortality.
I must admit, I yelped.
Startling, those jutting cheekbones.
The yellowed skin blended with sweet peach,
then dragged down with what must have been rakes.
Blond eyelashes hacked away, even a bleaching
for your nicotine teeth. Impressive, Ma.
So monstrous. Alone on that forty foot wall.

You’re so permanent
like that.


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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 29 | Summer 2010