Painter, make my portrait,
pour time into my chest,
encrust with bits of heaven
my eyes, let them glint again,
give force and sense
to my rambling hands,
smooth my wrinkles as rain
smoothes a grass-crumpled plain.
Give straightness of a tall
pine-tree to my neck and spine,
take an ache for flight from all
that still flies and make it mine.
Tear petals from dawn-carved tulips
and shape my tongue and lips,
scoop a brushful of honeyed sunlight
and lacquer my run-down heart.
Take a leopard's raw restraint
and give it to my mind,
just enough to be drawn behind
shadows sinking in the wingless cleft.
Make it seem, painter, that I never left.
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