Self-Portrait at 38 BY JENNIFER TONGE

There are lots of ways in which I can relate to the speaker of this poem who thinks that Courbet ‘might capture’ her. I’d like to think he’d paint me as ‘L’origine du Monde’:A scandalous gift for someone important to keep hidden behind a green curtain.

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An unused portion of ‘L’origine du Monde’ by Gustav Courbet

Hair still Titian,
but Botticelli’s grip has loosened—

not now Rubenesque,
and probably never;

Ingres approaches,
but Courbet might capture me.

Could I be surreal?
It seems almost likely—

bells in my ears
and fortresses under;

cones have been set on my eyes.
My spring is gone

and summer’s upon me,
rude in its ripening.

I’m espaliered, strung wide and tied,
pinioned, and thus can I fly.

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