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, one stands above one’s kettle
grill with brats. One’s 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 festival 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 one can rotate them with tongs
and quickly platter them. A blackened shred
falls to the dog and inside while one eats 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.

About the Author

Greg Sendi is a writer with Midwestern roots, former fiction editor at Chicago Review and has worked in corporate and political communications for many years.