by Francesca Lia Block & Lilly Barels
It was a gallery where my dead father had shown his still-lifes.
The wooden-paneled front door had carved initials by the brass handle. Or maybe they were slash marks from a key always missing the lock.
You could hear the sharp heels of the owner click click click on the still-shiny floor. Echo through the high ceilinged room.
The air-conditioning was much too high. It made my skin dry. My lips chapped.
A man peered in the large, plate glass window
as a sharp wind swept business cards off the entry table.
I was the only one there and the lighting was dim.
I knew before he appeared.
The equine cheekbones, flared nostrils, deep set eyes.
Savagely full, permanently pursed lips.
A pink petal fell from the vase, but the wind was gone.
I wanted to run to him, beckon him inside and show him the painting. It was called “Nurevey’s Ghost.”
I reached for the rose, grasped at the slumped stem. The pale petals scattered.