Whistler’s Sketch of Annabel Lee

Soundless sea
almost a memory
of a background

sea’s persistent turquoise
refuses Poe’s preposition ‘by’
whose Annabel
was, and lay down
entombed by the sea
kingdom and tomb
oceanic waste
of high-born jealousies
vanished by Whistler:
thigh and groin
varnished body surfaces

woman able
standing opening

Yes, to you Annabel Lee
your sounding torso from Phidias
a still plain –
Venetian balcony cuts the lean of
vertical desire
full disclosure
horizons of railings
and dawn from love
streaking clouds of sun at the lips
  bel                 nebel

I can’t get Poe’s
‘chilling and killing’
         out of my

your face smudged dull with paint
grain of wood panel
 more paint than soul, Annabel,
           a lust

the beautiful, the beautiful Annabel

Jeffrey Robinson