The Painter

(From my new book, Young Heart)


The painter drew a picture

Of his boyfriend

He sketched the details of

His wide eyes and his pouty

Lips and his leather jacket

With its worn out sleeves



He drew the curls in his hair

And the dimples that appeared

When he smiled or laughed

Especially when he was

Reminded to remain still


He drew the freckles on his

Face and the birthmarks on his

Neck that he had memorized

After their very first date

He’d also made a mental note

That his boyfriend loved

Lemon; it was his favorite

Flavor of cake


“Do you do this for all of

Your boyfriends?” he had

Asked when the painter

Sat down to draw. The

Painter said no, but that

He had sketched an Italian

Guy once

“Should I be jealous?” he asked

But the painter said no,

Because the Italian guy gave

The portrait to his girlfriend

As a gift


The painter drew his boyfriend’s

Hands, the way his fingers linked

Together draped over his knee

The way his wrists curved and

The way his nails were bitten

But also clean


He finished the picture

And his boyfriend cried

Tears actually streamed

Down his face. “You made

Me look like a goddam movie

Star,” he said. The painter

Told him he always looks

Like a goddam movie star. He

Wanted to kiss him and he

Wanted to draw a thousand

More pictures. He had found

The love of his life and he

Had also found his muse.





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