Andrew Wyeth Keeps Women in the Woods

by Teri Brown-Davidson Issue: Spring 2016

Andrew Wyeth keeps women in the woods.
First Helga, then Siri, their bodies white as breath
but more solid. They’re his paint ghosts,
detached from truculent flesh.
Wyeth arranges their bellies, breasts.
He wants women expressionless, their faces empty,
Helga pseudo-brutish in her green loden coat,
striding Teutonic through the forest,
eviscerating fragile brush with rage-black boots.
Or displayed carefully on a cot, her
breasts sliding away from her center,
like uncontrolled eyes rolling near her ribcage.
She’s like oranges, fluorescent, juicy sunbursts
heaped high in a blue-china bowl. Or slipped into a deep pocket
of shadows where her eyes disappear
behind lavender crescents. Recessed, he loves her. Schadenfreude
woman, savoring each skewering glance. She has a husband,
someone Wyeth suspects penetrates her flesh.
An inconvenience, like Siri’s father
till Wyeth persuades him: Give me your daughter.
Good man, let me plunder.

Teri Brown-Davidson

Terri Brown-Davidson holds the Ph.D., M.F.A., and M.A. in English and creative writing. She’s received an AWP Award, a Yaddo Fellowship, and the New Mexico Writer’s Scholarship, among other honors. Her first book of poetry, The Carrington Monologues, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her poetry and fiction have been published in many journals, including The Beloit Poetry Journal, Triquarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and North American Review. Her chapbook, Rag Men, won the inaugural The Ledge Poetry Chapbook Prize.