Tom Montag

The Woman in an Imaginary Painting

In ten minutes
how much the light
can change. Art lies

to us because
it lies outside
of time. So this

moment was not
this, but many
distilled to this.


It was a stiffening
of his desire she noticed
as he painted her.

We know this: the blush at
her throat, the blossoming
roses on her breasts, her

slightly turning away from us.
You read what you can from
the signs given. He and

she were in the room
alone together and they
won’t tell us. We have to

imagine what he said
and what she said and later
the awkwardness as she dressed.

Tom Montag’s books of poetry include:  Selected Poems 1982-2013;  and Seventy at Seventy. His poem ‘Lecturing My Daughter in Her First Fall Rain’ has been permanently incorpor-ated into the design of the Milwaukee Convention Center. He blogs at The Middle-westerner. With David
Graham he recently co-edited Local News: Poetry About Small