Mona Lisa

Karen Maceira

A lute is plucked and strummed
to soothe her at these sittings.
He has taught her how to place
her empty hands, to fix
her gaze on a point in the room-
the gold rosette holding back
deep folds of damask
at the window.
He has told her to imagine
the rosette grew, opened, spilled
its seeds and filled
the window sill with a hundred tiny rosettes.
Grieving for her dead child,
she sees beyond the garden
out to the rocky landscape,
the narrow path winding
to the lake.

He follows her gaze,
remembering the kitchen girl
he met on that path last week.
Coming from the village beyond
the lake, she carried a lamb
like a baby.
At the sight of Leonardo
she stopped.
Under a clump of dark cedar
heavy with blue berries,
it turned its head toward him.
The lamb wore the smile.

Karen Maceira has published her poems in New Orleans Review, Negative Capability, The Christian Science Monitor, and the Beloit Poetry Journal. Born and raised in New Orleans, she currently teaches English at Pearl River High School in Pearl River, LA.