Drops of Jupiter Part 1, Spring 2000

medieval lettering
Detail from Medieval Lettering, colored pencil and ink, 2000

The first time we spoke

you approached me after our class critique

of illuminated letters.

Wowed you were by my velvety black lettering

by my gilded William Morris grapevines

by my lush Gustav Klimt flowers.

I saw a flicker of attraction

behind your brown gaze

but your eyes met mine straight across

when I preferred guys to look down on me.

I thought, What if I get fat again?

You’d be Jack Sprat and I’d be your portly wife.

No, I drew the line right then:

We’d only be friends.

Besides, just that month

I’d sailed over the moon

with my husband-to-be.

When you switched seats to move closer

you consumed my boyfriend stories

like manna from the heavens.

On an April class trip to a design studio

you drank in my talk of wedding plans

as we ate lunch at a cheap buffet.

Though dizzy in love

I picked up on first-date vibes

and I worried about wrong impressions.

After our next class, you spoke with odd emphasis:

“You need to see my sketchbook.”

So naïve, I thought you would showcase

a new drawing technique.

Two days later you held the black book

like a Christmas morning surprise.

“I can’t wait for you to see,” you gushed

as you thrust it toward me.

Your amazing talent left me breathless

as I viewed your perfect magazine models.

At the end of the Victoria’s Secret parade

I saw my mirror image in pencil:

my yellow Gap v-neck and faded jeans

my head ducked and hands in back pockets

my shy, unassuming smile.

Page after page of my profile, my hair, my eyes

lovingly rendered from memory.

You willed me to reciprocate your gaze.

But I kept my eyes down

trying not to crush your heart

so exposed on paper.

“They’re good,” I almost whispered

as I returned the book

careful not to touch your masterful hands.



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