Mel Belin


At the Exhibit
Matisse's black mirror from a 1987 exhibition, National Gallery of Art

The anemones, stems snak-
ing like Medusa's curls, toss
their heads with just the right
cant. Sepals: a manic red or purple,
even the white, less than pristine.
From every direc-
tion, they are the barkers,
wheedle: C'mon over,
with a knowing wink as if
to style you no mere
..................They wind
and twine you the sideshow
...........................not a funhouse
with dis-
torting glass to make you
short and fat
or the tallest thin man this side
of wasted.
..................The dark oval that looms
behind vase and flowers: in its face
are no corporeal odalisques, checkered
boards, Moorish screens. The luxuriant
tapestries of co-
joined pattern and color that Matisse splat-
tered over his canvasses
are replaced by his image here of no-

thing: it devours light,
this black mir-
ror. C'mon over!

Mel Belin, author of Flesh that was Chrysalis (Word Works 1999), has been published in magazines and journals nationwide. Winner of Potomac Review's third annual competition (1998) and a runner-up in Antietam Review’s annual competition, he has been a featured reader at many Washington, DC area venues including the Writer’s Center, the Library of Congress Poetry at Noon Series, Borders, Miller’s Cabin, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. An earlier version of his published book was a semi-finalist in the University of Wisconsin’s annual book competition. He presented one of his poems on a program distributed by National Public Radio. Belin's web site:



Published in Volume 10, Number 1, Winter 2009.