life in excess

by Grace McGovern

          after François Boucher
the woman’s corset constricts, 
creates a new spine, new ribs. 
you’ve interrupted her, 
but she doesn’t mind. 
cheeks bloom red, 
the simulation of blood. 
the shine of her lips, 
as though she just bit down 
on a peach. even her 
bathroom is beautiful, 
dripping with woman. 
the rise of a pinky. 
how it stands alone. 
mess of people. tangled limbs 
lap over each other 
and they have become one 
writhing ball of fleshy pink. 
your finger sinks in 
as it would in dough. 
how this scene smells 
just as sweet. 
wet clay beneath your nose. 
gathered roses, snipped clean 
at the head. the girl dreams 
awake, moon-white 
head nestled in her palm. 
the boy is drawn, bee 
to flower, moth 
to flame, fly 
to rotting meat. 
rabbits and birds slain 
at the lovers’ feet. 
no blood. red cushions 
them, hints. 
softness, baby soft. nursery 
pinks and blues. the feel 
of freshly washed sheets sliding 
over your thigh. we are all 
children, plump and floating
cherubs watch on in curiosity,
bubbles of spit and giggles.  
the feathers of their wings 
float to the dirt,  stepped on 
over and over and over