• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 03

Preparatory Sketch

There were no words between us that morning;
the only sounds in the studio
were the scratching of charcoal
and the gush of air from his lips
punctuating periods of concentration.
I kept to the strict instructions
to keep still, keep the pose, suppressing the urge
to break the space between us and catch
a glimpse of the sketch
and kiss his eyelids, mouth and fingers.

We had spent a sleepless night together
in the corner of the studio,
woken only by rays of sunshine that pierced
the blind in the skylight directly above us,
melting me like butter on the toast of his body.
I dressed for the sitting reluctantly,
longing for his gaze on my bare skin.

It was hungry work. He discarded the broken
stick of charcoal, put aside the drawing,
and brought from the kitchenette
a selection of cheeses and a baguette,
which we ate while waiting for a pot
of strong coffee to brew. Still no words.
Just the aromas of food and coffee,
until he produced a pack of tobacco
and papers, rolled two fat cigarettes
and lit them simultaneously.


Preparatory Sketch

I caught the musky scent of his skin
as he leaned over and slipped
a cigarette between my lips,
one hand on my shoulder,
a signal to get back into pose.

The cloying, worrisome wisps crept up my nose,
clung to hair and throat, threatening
to force an acrid cough
from lungs to mouth.
I was not a smoker.
I crossed my arms and glared through the smoke,
tempted to rise up and throw myself on the bed.

“Got it!” he said.