Andromeda

I.

Submission is in the shape of her body’s contortions–curved to her love, she moves with his reckoning, the lower lip cherry red, eyes half mast, shoulders imp, hair parted to lay at the back, giving full view of the body to the other’s eyes.

II.

What is a lover’s body? Within the confines of the sheets that crease when she rolls onto her side, moisture from macadamia oil evaporating from the skin, faint traces of sex in the circulating with each exhale. The lover’s body is in motion, static only in her gaze. In their quarters: a bottle of grape wine, scarlet silk sheets, incense burning. He buries his head in the adipose areas of her body–breasts, buttocks, belly. The belly grows patches of baby hair.

III.

Natural selection recognizes threats to the body’s most vulnerable parts–the head, the eyes, the underarm, the sex–for that, it compensates with hair growth. Anatomical hair is virility, hence Andromeda has none. A woman cannot be both desirable and invulnerable. We weave clothes for protection, the body grows hair for the same purpose; Andromeda is stripped away of both.

IV.

The details bear no traces of the follicles, even to the precision of Rembrandt’s brushwork; light catches the curves of her body, shadows recede to where light does not hit–the artistry consummate save for when he misses anatomical aphorisms: where is her hair, and if it has been removed, where are its roots.

V.

What is a body? To be naked is to be oneself, to be nude is to be seen naked by others. A body is an object. Tintoretto paints Susanna stripped, crouching to conceal her breasts from The Elders watching her. Venus is born a ripened woman, and Botticelli created her, from her Birth, the object of male desire. A body is languid, static on when the gaze is fixed. The painter directs it to where he wishes: soften your spine and lay lifeless as you look to me; understand that you give up your flesh when you allow me to turn it into brush strokes.

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