The Painting

by Paul Potesta

My wife’s mother, aside from

being a judgmental racist

and all around rejecting parent,

was a pretty good artist.


A number of her paintings

hang from the walls in my office.

One of which is a colorful abstract

that’s been there for twelve years.

I like the mixture of bright colors

and mélange of forms, but

I’ve never taken the time to

examine it in detail, until yesterday.


For some reason I took a closer look

and what I saw was quite surprising.

There are erotic themes cleverly embedded

In a cacophony of colors and constructions.


There is an erect penis

right in the middle of the painting

where one supposes it should be.

A disembodied breast

hangs in the lower left hand corner.


Also two nude female figures, full frontal,

are languidly laid out

in the lower right hand corner among

other vaguely erotic forms scattered about.


The question occurred to me.

“Was I projecting my own inner life

onto the painting?”

I wondered what I might see

if I turned the painting upside down?


Several years before his death,

my wife and I were visiting

her father in the hospital where

he lay in a semi-state of delirium.


He was in withdrawal

from mis-prescribed medicines

and, what we were soon to find out,

quite uninhibited in his revelations.


At one point he looked at my wife

and said “You know your mother

was a whore. I think she liked sex

better than me. In fact last night

I dreamed she was part of an orgy.”


We were totally caught off guard and

could only say “that’s interesting

but too much information for

a daughter and her husband to digest.”


However, upon closer examination

of her mother’s art work, that

radiates from the wall in my office,

perhaps her father had a point.


5 thoughts on “The Painting

  1. You know I was just editing that last stanza. It was awkward. Also the 6th stanza needed some work i.e., I removed the phrase “among other vaguely etc.” A photo would be a good idea, but I don’t know how to do that. Also I’m a terrible photographer.

  2. Aha! It worked. As the Christmas song asks – Do You See What I See? Also upon closer examination the larger white nude female figure is facing away. The smaller pink one next to it is frontal.

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