After an oil portrait by Daniel Sprick

Her skin is the color of rich Midwestern soil.
Her hair, in twists pulled back into a ponytail,
droops at the edge of her long, thin neck.
Her eyes are closed; silver glistens
on her eyelids, a dab of pink
high on her cheekbones,
lips closed. She tilts
her head toward the light,
away from the crowd
in the museum, me.
I stare.
Pinks, grays, blank canvas
politely obscure below her neck,
hint at her thumb
resting on her collarbone. 
I raise my hand to touch trust,
let it fall.

Photo by Taylor Deas-Melesh on Unsplash

Shawna Ervin

Shawna Ervin has an MFA from Rainier Writers Workshop through Pacific Lutheran University in Washington. She teaches English to high schoolers through Arapahoe Community College, serves as a guest artist and mentor to struggling youth through Art from Ashes, and is a poetry reader for Adroit Journal. Recent publications include Tampa Review, Cagibi, Euphony Journal, Evening Street Review, Synkroniciti, Hiram Poetry Review, Rappahannock Review, Raw Art Review, Apalachee Review, The Delmarva Review, The Diverse Arts Project, The Maine Review, Sonora Review, Summerset Review, Superstition Review, Sweet: A Literary Confection, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook Mother Lines was published by Finishing Line Press in 2020.