Portrait of Mona Lisa, 1503

Janée J. Baugher

The pink from head and neck
has sunk into her hands,
one atop the other on the armrest.
The eyes behind the bulletproof
Perspex look everywhere.
The landscape: haunted austere abutment
and a snaking dirt road leading

O Mourning One,
most of us will not know such woe:
the way you grew your child,
the birthing hours on.
When she was just four… Well,
what we know of her death
is only your grief,
sfumatoed in black veil.

And so defiantly:
a camera flash bulb.
This trips the mechanical partition.
It lowers from a ceiling panel
over you. For one half hour:
you, relieved,
there behind that impenetrable screen.
And we
are spared your weeping.

Janée J. Baugher has a B.S. in Human Anatomy and Physiology from Boston University and an MFA in poetry from Eastern Washington University. She is an English Instructor at HighCommunity College in the Seattle area.