shot glass
"... brevity is the soul of wit ..."
- William Shakespeare

Marybeth Rua-Larsen


Loose Love

After Mary Cassatt's "Reine LeFebvre Holding Nude Baby"

They're cheek to cheek and dreamy-eyed, enfolded
in each other's arms, but loosely, curved
toward freedom, unlike us, who clenched and coded
red when separated. Did her nerves

hold through the teen years? Did she let her daughter
model for Modigliani? Soutine?
Accepting that she'd be their muse and flaunt her
cleavage more than talent? Did her fourteen-

year-old give attitude, like mine? arms crossed,
legs tangled underneath her chair, red eyes
determined in their vacant stare – the cost
of No! to boyfriends who've dropped-out and drive.

I bear her silence, leave books to wet her thirst
for salty seas, for putting herself first.