Woman Breathing
as a Work of Art

In Gustav Klimt’s first portrait
of Viennese socialite Adele Bloch-Bauer,
painted with oil, silver, gold on canvas,
one of the artist’s lovers stares out
of woven mosaic, a wall of splashed gold,
red lips parted, black hair bouffant
over pale skin, eyes riveted on the painter,
fourteen claims of patrimony to his name.

His jeweled choker enshrines her
like the mask of an Egyptian sarcophagus.
How can she bother about his numerous
lovers, offspring? He’s given her a moment
in eternity. With flushed face, bare neck,
gray-pink flesh embraced by a girdle
of gilded hieroglyphics—in spite of
paint or the artist—she becomes
woman breathing as a work of art.

Mary K. Lindberg’s poems have appeared in journals and literary magazines such as Beloit Poetry Journal, Blueline, Evening Street Review (forthcoming), Waterways, Epoiesen (Vol 5), and Serenade.  Her poem “After Dark After Restoration” was published in Gallery&Studio (August 2021).  Her chapbook, The Tang of Glue was published by Puddinghouse Publications in 2006.  She was a Grand Prize Winner in the 2021 Dancing Poetry Contest (Embassy Arts International).

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