Vincent Speaks of Theo by Ann Howells

. . . now I say it less in words
and more silently in work.

Theo is my brother, my keeper,
my patron and confessor,
my strong right hand.
Dear Theo, takes me in,
battered suitcase beneath our bed,
extends the soup with a cup of water,
perhaps a handful of barley.

Last year
I completed three landscapes
while living on milk, bread,
a few eggs, and chestnuts
stolen from a corner vendor
who chased me off with curses.
Theo’s francs go for linseed oil,
turpentine, pigments.
My lust is all consuming —
I gaze at oils and pigments
as other men at Follies nudes.

Theo’s middle-class world
cannot understand the demi-monde
in which we artists exist:
where line between mistress
and madame, model
and prostitute, dancer
and whore, is razor thin and fluid.
And I wonder he has time
to concern himself
with my disastrous love affairs.

I am an island clinging
to Theo’s continent,  a moon
circling his earth, but oh,
what scintillation a moon provides.

# # #

Ann Howells’ work has recently appeared in Crannog (Ire), San Pedro River Review, and Spillway, among others. She has edited, Illya’s Honey, since 1999, recently going digital. Her books are: Under a Lone Star (Village Books Press) and Cattlemen and Cadillacs, an anthology of DFW poets which she edited (Dallas Poets Community Press). Her chapbooks are: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag Publishing), Letters for My Daughter (Flutter Press), and Softly Beating Wings, which won the William D. Barney Memorial Chapbook Contest for 2017 (Blackbead Books). 

Photo: Asgeir Pall Juliusson

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