Big gala at the art museum. She’s there holding the corner of an oversized check signifying an oversized contribution from the oversized donor holding the other corner, but nobody’s looking at him or his check, they’re transfixed by her in that astonishing dress, dramatic as Madame X’s, black except for the creamy silk at the bustline, blending subtly with the creamy skin of her bare arms and decolletage, even more astonishing to think she’s a woman in her forties, completely appropriate yet singularly radiant even against this opulent background, so manifestly sweet that even the cattiest society matrons can’t worry her as she smiles amongst the camera flashes and then lightly pirouettes away.
And then watching her walking I at once understand the sacrality of shoes, what the other women awkwardly grasp at as they totter about in their absurdly high heels while she moves so naturally, the mistress of the wild beasts, doe footed, split hoofed, her arched tread touching the earth in two places, toe and heel, skittishly picking her way along the crowd forest with instinctual grace.
Down the stairs to the darkened galleries with only the subtlest glance back to let me know she knows I’m following her under the ropes to where she waits, framed by the vast canvasses of past centuries, all ocean and ocean’s daughters, their pastel flesh gone chiaroscuro in the shadows.
As I touch her she looks up, and then, from back then, she rises up strong, pug nosed, ponytailed even, still with that tiny gap between her front teeth, the apparition of her round bellied form standing naked among the ripening goddesses of my ripening years, still effortlessly carrying the dawn in her luminous circle, a perfect fit with the beauties of eternity, their brush stroke curves shimmering in half light Tara half turned next to the alabaster glisten of Venus foaming at the mouth of Oshun, her river dance ballet rushing to bubbly aerobics, eyes bright with reflection, we close diving, trembling against the breast cup and figurines rattling to the drowning depths…