(an ekphrastic poem on the painting Melancholia 1989 Fernando Botero)
  • Lisa Koning

You can trust Gustav, his friends would say

he has no secrets, no nothing to hide

They all know his love of satin

sheer organza, delicate chiffon, the finest lace

He has been known to turn up to parties

in fetching frills and pearls, off the shoulder silk

to complement his décolletage

Gustav is exacting in his appearance

choosing earrings, a gold necklace

and matching bracelet

His finger nails painted and elegant

though he refuses to wear high heels

He tried it only once and stumbled

rather ungracefully

down a flight of Berkeley stairs

When the bottle of vintage Dom Pérignon

disappeared at the end of the evening

no one suspected Gustav

And when the crystal candleholders

were gone from the mantelpiece

no one thought of Gustav

The diamond necklace

the collector's first edition

even the antique hand mirror

why, no one guessed Gustav

Because, you see

Gustav has no secrets

 

20.Koning.jpg
Fernando Botero, ‘Melancholia’ 1989 (oil on canvas). Reproduced courtesy Wikigallery