Before he walked into the middle
of the room and spoiled everything,
she found in it
a pasture for horses.
Smell of uncut grass,
dirt tamped down.
She wanted to lie in it forever,
lie down and sleep,
but he entered, clapping his hands
and she was struck by the power
of his infatuation,
the hunger. He reached
for the Art Forum
and turned to the centerfold.

“The invisible is real,” he said, quoting from the text.

He kept his eyes on the page.
He studied her for a moment, then said,
“You need to get used to people criticizing your work.”

“That’s the problem, I am used to it.”

“Then you need to grow thicker skin.”

O she should have been stark and obdurate
among spewed chunks of stone,
structures fallen on their sides,
absorbing rain and heat, not a pasture at all
but a field split like a hoof,
torn down the middle,

the way her ribs bunch up into buttresses
around her chest,
this place she’s come to
now marked on her body—
hunger keeping its teeth strong, its ribs lean.