Red and Blue Lines of the German Painter, Otto Dix

by Tantra Bensko

Across candles waxing up the table

They tell war stories. They say

Whores were always matronly

When there were soldiers.

I remember a whore brutally

In the mirrored room.

She was ugly as a child would find her.

My friends can see bright red and blue lines

Of my story bend

In simple lines like the designs

I painted for years

Over Dresden's doors.

I tell them about my paintings

They have on their walls.

They have noticed there is often a child

In my stories. He reaches up perhaps

To the meat market counter

Where the boarish, tattooed butchers

Are actively not getting over the Great War.

He watches cripples,

Just head, chest, arms, on sleds, asking

For alms before a display of ivory legs.

I describe the child so clearly,

The watching eyes so well, they believe

He was there.

The painting of the mirrored room

Is like fighting: clothed,

The whore and I ram into each other

Making cruel angles.

I turn her St. George icons

And frayed prints sideways. They can't help

Seeing a child even there

In the crude brushstrokes.

They say it is me. The whore

Smells like figs. She warbles,

Rapping her throat. I tell her

Of the little boy twisting around corners

To stare at whores' enormous bosoms.

She shakes her breasts at my child's eyes.

I stare, naming her colors.