‘After Rembrandt’s Women’ by Iseult Healy



She was no Eve

this apple of a woman
whose red dress
surrounded the flowing flesh
of twin hillocks, hung over the
ridge of her cheeks
to flow down to stocking tops

Hot and juicy, easy-peel woman

They ate at their pleasure
wiped her juice from their jaws
munched to the skeletal core
that framed her bitter pips

swallowed her inside them

where she lay hurt for a day or two

till they spat her out
without a backward glance

to take root once more


Him 1

He kissed me tenderly
as he stabbed my pulsing neck
vicious as he twisted the knife

leaving me wretched
in unbearable pain
tearing at his face

Him 2

He kissed me tenderly
as his pulsing cock
stabbed me in a vicious way

leaving me wretched
in unbearable pain
tearing at his face


After Rembrandt’s Women

Nipples sucked while I
work the brush to the canvas
the vermilion and ochre
matching my puckered skin
standing ready for pleasure

Your tongue-tip a missile
of heat and wetness
while I stroke the viscous
oils to the taut canvas
stroke after stroke

Painter and painted, one wet
the other wetting in colours
vivid and rich, beyond life
till who is breathing and who
is image is a matter of indifference

A faint sigh, a thrill of senses
a brush, a stroke, a flick of
life across the dusky scene
damp fingers dust the likeness
pull the flesh towards the centre
where it muffles in a heaviness
of pure puce and nutmeg folds

The light fades, the colours dry
I perforce return to this monochrome
thing called life in this harsh planet of
defined things but I know whenever
my eyes light on this image, I will dive
and swell and surge and swim
in its rainbow of life till I drown
again and again in its silkiness and
soft stains and tints and hues
and live once again

Published in Rats Ass Review, USA, 2016


Reasons For Starving

Wedding dress
Anorexic beauty
Prison escape
No food
Fussy eater
Size 6
The doctor said to lose weight


There’s An Old Man

… dying at her breast

she doesn’t forbid his last suckle
his comfort of flesh, born and dying

His lips relax, his breath ceases
she sees his maleness – the young boy
knees bloody, hair tousled
or eyes alight to his first love
his protection of offspring
or his anguished awareness
he is no longer alpha male

She does not let him lose his pride
helps him hold till the end all the power
he possesses in mind if not in limb
for his presence yet instils stability
and safe harbour

let him fear not he is alone when time’s past
his power spent, his vacant need exposed to all

Published in Rats Ass Review, USA, 2016

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