Teresa Lewis; Choosing the Nude by Lisa Ryan

Teresa Lewis


They are raising amnesty
signs along the courthouse road
portraits with her missing
lateral incisor filled in
perhaps to make her look
more like themselves
perhaps taking back
the tooth-for-a-tooth.

In their silence I recall her
singing “I need a miracle”
and her voice is not empty
more like a bowl with
overflowing reminders of
how long it’s been since I sang
for anything.

I will be eating artichokes
when her veins drink
that final cocktail
devouring the heart
while the maple leaves
shout with their loudest
colored voices, falling
quietly on the walk.


Choosing the Nude


It was the best room in that hugely cold, old house
                                 We’d never even pictured each other naked
its cheaply dressed eastern-facing bay window,
                                 weren’t an item when you showed me the drawings
tamped fireplace with mantle, small dated sink,
                                 would I help you choose? the best ones?
perfect height for you to piss in on frigid mornings.
                                 And I couldn’t help but love this woman
Your charcoal torsos, dusty buttocks and chests
                                 bend of her elbow folded over her tired brow
splayed across the parquet wood floor, your
                                 detail of the nipples exchanged for abstraction at her feet
parents’ old water mattress a silent sea we sat upon.
                                 How could I have known she would be
In that room you’d trace my lips with midnight fingers
                                 the patron saint hung above our marriage bed,
but never hang anything on the tall, naked walls.
                                 seen our sons’ infant faces at her breast?

Lisa Ryan
Lisa Ryan is a graduate of James Madison University and a Philadelphia native. She lives with her husband Mike and their two sons, Gray and Tate, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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