I would like to wrap myself in this

trail of white azaleas, feel on my winter skin

the frilly softness of petals and quivering stamens,


with a shawl of lilacs carrying their scent

into the pleasure centers of my brain.  And why

not?  Klimt has painted Emilie in twilight-blue


silk studded with gold seeds and stars.  He

studied microscope slides of sperm and egg cells

as he painted Frau Bloch-Bauer, her


slim torso swimming with ova in gold

on a sea of gold, with small black sperm

erect at her hips.  Then he painted her again,


Adele, mantled in green on a ground

of flowers.  So many women he envisioned

robed, swathed, festooned with blooms in a riot


of color – Eugenia in pink, orange, yellow,

and turquoise petals, sweet Marie in her candlelit

floral, Ria, Mada, Baroness Elisabeth, all


wearing gardens.  He saw something in

each of them, hungers and stardust, seeds

and openings.  And I was there, where he painted,


I was in Vienna once, in early summer,

strolling along the Ringstrasse under pale new

leaves, in the glinting shade of the linden trees,


where Freud took his daily walks, having already

published his thoughts on wish fulfillment

in dreams and daydreams.  Little did I dream


then that one day I would wake

in another country, another season,

surprised to feel my aging body brushed


by azaleas and lilacs, licked by a warm breeze,

and that I would remember Klimt and think Yes!

He is designing my new dress!


Portrait by Gustav Klimt, 1907. Oil, Silver, and Gold on Canvas.