Demoiselles

Fernande Olivier: Woman Sleeping, 1904

I detest Sundays. I tell you, they smell bad.
If that Sunday I lay in bed with a book, I’m sure I didn’t read it
but thought only of that first night with Pablo—how the wind took
the trees in Place Ravignan, how the rain soaked my blouse
to the skin. At Bateau-Lavoir, Pablo blocked the way in.
I’d seen him around, of course, that Andalusian the artists and poets
all followed. (One night, they marched drunk shouting:
Up with Verlaine! Down with Laforgue!
Or was it the other way around? No matter.)
Well, there he stood in the doorway, in his arms
the smallest wet kitten. Voici Minou, he said, laughing,
she is as wet as you. Then he made me see (vraiment) his
new etching. You know the one I mean—two
blue people, blue wine, the piece of blue bread?
He scratched it in zinc with a hatpin found
on the floor of a brothel. Pablo, Pablo, his face so old,
his black eyes coal hardened to diamond. His hands,
delicate as a girl’s, held me, removed my wet hat,
then my shoes, my stockings, slowly, and my lace . . .

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