Zoë Bodzas


If I were more my father’s daughter I would be a few rooms away with lilies in my peripherals or maybe an ocean away in front of Mona for a day because that is how you treat perfection and I mean perfection as a thing crystalized by remembrance we remembered her for centuries history hates nuance so just the very fact of our remembering re-membered her as the lady theeee lady of Western Art if you ask somebody their favorite painting and give them but little time to think more often than not their favorite painting will be the lady or the starry night they’re good they earned it but me my favorite painting I think of a two I think of the Frida Kahlo with the girl falling through clouds or the Marc Chagall with lovers on a birthday and all that comfort love horror what more could you want maybe swirled celestial night maybe a face more iconic more instantly recognizable than any prophet savior god than your mother in bad or uncommon lighting today I am in gallery lighting in body and in overcast spring light in mind I chose a spot near Picasso’s five ladies of the night because I remembered it because I squinted at a version a collage of a Google search and wrote a poem on five sisters from Picasso’s paintings the only word I remember from the poem is “geometries” but “skin” and “sister” wouldn’t be bad guesses two days ago I ate hummus with a friend we were in grey in turtlenecks we were anxious young women we were starry-eyed writers gripping scaffolding this is a city where we want to spend birthdays see Kahlo paintings in gardens tend bookshelves and maybe a narcissus or cactus so on the R train home I thought I would cry on the street walking home I did cry at the kitchen table I explained it poorly that I feel like I can do anything can do nothing there is vertigo not vertigo a headache not a headache a dullness a restless grey of love and anger gone awry in doubt and complacency have you pushed your connections have you pushed your luck have you pushed yourself have you prayed have you written to your teachers have you seen your students have you read the classics have you closed your eyes have you meditated have you written today have you edited yesterday have you cried have you bitten your lip have you killed your most darling darling have you kissed your killer have you kissed the grates of the city have you a heart have you fed your mind that’s more than worth the splurge you know and have you seen the painting before which you’ve been sitting this entire time, like at all?

Zoë Bodzas studied creative writing and linguistics at Hamilton College. She is originally from New Jersey.