The Nature of the Question

Betsy McCully

You want to know why Mona Lisa smiles
so you scan her image with electrons,
strip away surfaces to get to more
surfaces – what you can see. But her smile

teases as it plays at the edges of what
you can see. You divide her body into
five million tiles, measure color
intensities, graph the spectrum of her eyes

but do not delve them. They see what you
cannot. Her body is not conclusion,
layers of paints not the reason.

Betsy McCully teaches and writes in New York City. She has given poetry readings in Washington, D.C. and New York City, and her poems, essays, and stories have appeared in a number of journals and anthologies. She is currently at work on a memoir.