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Painting with Winter Scene

For fifteen years she went out wearing no
awareness. And it was then she couldn't believe
she was already dead, that nothing lay ahead
but love
she'd already tried. Unaware, she kept mixing
after stranger cocktails
of fear for her heart. Solo
flights to fish in Greenland, frozen chunks
atop bar stools. For years, raw
pink: everything strange, inviting; everything ordinary,
What to do she couldn't do: the oil painting
she carried beneath
ten protective layers,
the one of the family waiting
silent at the breakfast table as at a dark hole
in ice. Mother, father, kids in monochromatic snow,
snow, and snow.
The hands and mouths needing to be touched
up with red.

Liz Robbins' poems have appeared in Feminist Studies, The National Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, Puerto del Sol, and Rattle. Her first book, Hope, As the World Is a Scorpion Fish, was recently published by The Backwaters Press. She's the recipient of the First Coast Writers' Poetry Award, judged by Robert Bly, and a nominee for Best New Poets and a Pushcart Prize. She's an assistant professor of English and creative writing at Flagler College.