Early Art

It was the sort that came without instruction,
just time alone, a pencil, and a scrap
torn from a marled composition notebook.
Nights, beneath a pleated yellow lamp,
I drew my crude approximations of
the female form: two buoyant flips of hair,
enormous breasts miraculously clinging
to a meager stick of torso leading—where?
A hulking Gray’s Anatomy resolved
that mystery, then opened up another.

Now, as I read beside my sleeping wife,
I think of ill-lit nights spent drawing pictures
of everything I thought that I could guess.
She starts, as in a dream of sudden steps,
then pulls the sheet to cover a bare shoulder.
I hold still, watching as she settles back
into whatever temporary world
she’s left unfinished, and might finish yet.

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the author of Petty Theft, winner of The New Criterion Poetry Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, he is also the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He lives with his wife and son in Syracuse.
Nicholas Friedman

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Author: Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the author of Petty Theft, winner of The New Criterion Poetry Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University, he is also the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He lives with his wife and son in Syracuse.