Detail of Mona Lisa

Diane Shipley DeCillis

Her mouth
moistened by thin
veneers of glaze,
lip-glossed lips
meeting to form
an ambiguous horizon,

the sun rising above them,
cheeks blushed
with soft carmine glow,
sun setting as chiaroscuro
in the shadow
of her chin.

Sfumare, to evaporate,
glaze dried translucent,
layers of skin, edges mingled,
drifting into one another
like the air inside a kiss.

Is it perspective or time
that drives us
to vanishing point?
The corners of the mouth
arched as question marks,
eclipse into a blur

where we might not remember
why a smile began,
the same way
there are times we forget
how to be happy
or even what it was like.

Our eyes wander
like the River Arno
through her eyes
that suggest a source
for tears,
though everything depends
upon this murmur

of that holds a certain
tension between the easy smile
and the frown
readily engaged.

The brush stutters
with calculated flair,
glides with flourish.
We think we might follow it inside,
somewhere inside
where the urge
for love once travelled
through the threshold
of her lips.