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Children’s Day at the Museum by Lisa James

Look carefully at this landscape. Do you think this shows a real place or an imaginary setting the artist created?

Reality is a dicey proposition.

Capture its outlines and the blue house fires to char, the white factory crumbles to rust and rubble.

This building’s foundation rots beyond reach, every day a diminutation.

Will a field of goldenrod on this spot in five hundred years be any less real for having been imagined today?

This painting is full of symbols. What might these symbols stand for?

That depends on how old I am.

If I’m five, everything stands for a butterfly.

If I’m fifteen, everything stands for a pudenda.

Have you ever created a work of art using recycled materials?

Life is nothing but a recycling of materials and I don’t mean the obvious, the flesh of my arm becoming a dandelion leaf or a chipmunk cheek.

What I’m referring to is the art— or the hash, take your pick— we all make of existence, the fretfulness or sympathy or vindictiveness or joy (or all of the above) we apprehend from the time large forms loom over the bassinet, setting the gears for every interaction to come, from a schoolyard snicker to a hand upon the thigh.

What do you think is the most important thing a model has to do while posing?

That’s easy. To not think of lemon-colored rhinos as her nipples harden in the breeze.


Lisa James has been published in the PPA Literary Review, North Sea Anthology, Whispers & Shouts, Long Island Quarterly and For Loving Precious Beast. She has been recognized in several contests—including Farmingdale Poets, Live Poets Society, Mid-Island Y, Northport Arts Council and Princess Ronkonkoma—and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Lisa hosts the Performance Poets Association reading at Barnes & Noble East Northport, New York.

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