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Nicole Zdeb

To the Woman on the Bridge

I will paint you as you are standing,

on the bridge over the river flowing

beside my bedroom window, facing

a horizon pearled and smoky,

the pale flares of a winter parting.

Lips soft as moral ground, ashamed

to pray. Critic of this violet dusk,

thinking “the shadows don’t swallow

enough of the light.” I will paint

an orange scarf, oil-rich, around

your neck. I will find your neck

slowly. I will paint with my thumbs.

And because of kindness and to

punish, I will also paint a man.

Nicole Zdeb is a writer based in Portland, OR. She holds a MFA from Iowa Writers' Workshop. Nicole works in poetry, fiction, and hybrid forms. Bedouin Books published her chapbook, "The Friction of Distance."

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