As with shadows and reflections, so with portraits; they are often believed to contain the soul of the person portrayed. People who hold this belief are naturally loth to have their likenesses taken; for if the portrait is the soul, or at least a vital part of the person portrayed, whoever possesses the portrait will be able to exercise a fatal influence over the original of it.
— Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough
When coverage breaks on CNN outside
the underpass, you stand above the kettle
grill with brats. Your wife announces out
the bedroom window calling down like Scrooge
to the disbelieving It’s-Christmas-Day-sir boy
Go and buy great piles of festal meat
and pitching him a shiny half a crown.
The sausages, bowed and moonwhite like her limbs
in the bikini bathing pics from ninety-one,
grill like her Saxon body in the Corsican sun.
The milky tubes denude above the heat
almost before you can rotate them with tongs
and quickly platter them. A blackened shred
falls to the dog and inside while you eat the rest,
fragments knit together clumsily
emerge from la Pitié-Salpétrière,
how miscreants had tracked her from the Ritz
and orbited afterward for the money shot
like the capable spaniels of Actaeon,
the half-man hunter god of all outsiders peering on,
who through the tangle and the retinue,
saw every part undressed, an accidental
banquet of exposures — skin, eyes, lips
hair, teeth — who first observed, then driven
wild in panic, then was rent. The BBC
awaits something from the crown, among
anchors there is talk about the jaws
of life, onlookers over balustrades
who with Watchmen view dispatches from outside,
recall the fabled cockatrice with penetrating eyes.
Greg Sendi is a Chicago writer and former fiction editor at Chicago Review. In the past year, his poetry and stories have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of literary magazines and online outlets, including Apricity, The Briar Cliff Review, Burningword Literary Journal, Clarion, CONSEQUENCE, Flashes of Brilliance, The Masters Review, New American Legends, Plume, Pulp Literature, San Antonio Review, Sparks of Calliope, Sycamore Review and upstreet.