by Carla Sarett
(fragment of a letter to the artist Thomas Gainsborough from his daughter)
Dear Father, I’ve painted my most flamboyant clouds yet. Monstrous thunder clouds, the rotting stump of a birch, a pale-blue hermit’s castle. Later, I’ll add a nostalgic pond, a lost boy with a red cap. Oh, your Margaret can be moody as the Dutch! But wind and chill invade my mornings. My hands become scaly things. My fingers, now claws – they scratch my cheeks. What man would hold these hands, call me beloved? Soon, the gloved ladies will whisper: The hands tell the story. The wrinkling. The brown spots on her fingers. Such ragged nails. What vulgar wrists. Look at the hands, see why Margaret is alone. Father, I burn
Carla Sarett is a poet and novelist based in San Francisco. Her poetry books include a full-length collection, She Has Visions (Main Street Rag), and two chapbooks, Woman on the Run (Alien Buddha) and My Family Was Like a Russian Novel (Plan B Press, in press). She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and Best American Essays; and her poem series “Funeral Cake” has been shortlisted for the Poetry International Tiny Chapbook Prize. Carla has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.