THE GALLERY OF THE WICKED STEP-MOTHER
Even as a child, she avoided mirrors.
Something about the eyes was never quite right.
So when she finally had a place of her own,
She filled it with inexpensive prints,
Like the one in the foyer, the “Mona Lisa,”
In which she admires her own enigmatic beauty,
Out of place in this rude country,
Smiling at the village before her,
The fire of its thatched
hovels illuminating her face;
Or, in the family room, Raphael’s “Madonna and
In which her little naked Messiah leans against
And, with her approval, teases cousin John with a
Or, in the bedroom, where Titian’s “ Venus of
Lounges on her twilit bed,
Confident in her powers,
Just out of reach of the unfortunates
Who lust to kiss her smooth, throbbing breast,
Unaware, that in place of a heart, there writhes
Or that her private parts, playfully concealed by
her fleshy hand,
Are pasted shut by spider webs.
In her pale delicacy,
She was like Audrey Hepburn,
The eternal waif, with eyes as dark
As the devil’s shadow.
The last time we saw each other, it was over
Through the PA
Oscar Peterson noodled “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”
And it was time for clichés.
We were both returning to our contracted lives,
But that moment would stay in our hearts like a
From a musical in which common tradesmen put down
And break into a song and dance in
Two years later, when I was somebody else,
I finally received a letter from her,
Saying she was sorry that she took so long to
But soon after she left me,
She was in a terrible car accident that had
severely scarred her face,
That I would hardly recognize her.
But I must have known that,
Which was why I hadn’t written.
She was right that I was shallow, but for another
Lethargy, the preservative of unhappy marriages.
The real life me is much too lazy to sing and
Hell, much too lazy to answer a letter;
And the few times since when I’ve thought of her,
I’ve imagined Audrey Hepburn
As Eliza Doolittle in MY FAIR LADY,
Mouthing the words to “I Feel Pretty.”
Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher who,
with his wife Jeanne, divides time between Northeastern
Winter Garden, Florida. His
poems have appeared in The Journal of the Mulberry Poets and
Writers Association, Poets Online, Strong Verse, The Bijou
Review, Recursive Angel, The Edison Literary Review, Lunarosity,
Penwood, Jones Av., Centrifugal
Ballerina, The Talon, Amarillo
Bay, The Write Room, Pulsar, Sunken Lines, Wilderness House,
Blast Furnace, The Houston
Literary Review, Menagerie, H.O.D., Forge, Miller’s Pond, Muscle
and Blood, Indigo Rising, Sixers Review and Crash. He is also
the author of the chapbook HOUSES: AN AMERICAN ZODIAC, which was
published by The Poetry Library and a book of poems SOUTH OF