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after a painting by Joan Bevelaqua

I’m taught what it takes 
to stitch a woman’s spine 
into satin and marvel 

        at the linework as if bones were woven 
       lace. I’m taught composition 
       and framing as if the trees

are ours to shape, as if we can own 
what rests beneath 
our skin—deer skulls sleeping 

        in ridges of silken snow, our dead 
       on display. I don’t want to know 
       what it means to desire 

if beauty is like this: 
slouched shoulders in 
a dress bolstered by shadows.

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Ellery Beck has work published in Passages North, Typehouse, Poetry South, Waccamaw and elsewhere. They are one of the editors of Beaver Magazine, as well as a poetry reader for Poet Lore.

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