after Paul Cezanne, “Still Life with Skull”
Pears, peaches, and apricots, the blushing orange-red,
the trendy coral now available everywhere
that you see on capris and purses. The soft blush
of the peach somebody has bit into, the hesitancy
of the fruit, the perfect roundness. Next to the fruit,
the skull, that reminds you. Today, at Victoria’s Secret,
shopping for bathing suits, you ask a woman for help.
A good shrink, she listens to your fears about vacationing
at the beach with your in-laws and she helps you find bikinis,
rummages in a bin for matching string bottoms.
The light in the fitting room dark like the background
in Cezanne’s painting. You try on a hot pink top
that she says will show off your tan. Each bathing suit:
frenzied self-loathing. It might be easier to go to heaven
than fit into one of them, the skimpy bit, the bombshell
push-up halter, the high-leg string itsy, the flirt bandeau,
the tassel triangle top. The edgy stilettoes of the woman
who listens, but declines your 20% off coupon.