Claire Keyes
Self-Portrait With Bell's Palsy

                    for Stephanie Cole

In her studio, she takes
her face’s slouch as subject, propping a mirror
to the side of her easel

so she can capture this oddity in charcoal, her eye
wandering down to visit her mouth
like the women Picasso painted, forehead

going one way, chin another: asymmetric
beauties. She seems to be chewing something tough
on the right side while her left

leans into a smile. For her, the droop in her mouth
and eye is strange and compelling as the beach glass
she collects, an arrangement

of exquisite fragments. She tacks her image
beside them on the wall, a woman
beyond ruin.

Photo: "Rachel Surveys the Lake," Gail Denham.
Detail. Click for full image.