The Marriage Bed

by Elise Paschen

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second before Awakening
Salvador Dali

That he painted her suspended above a rock — his wife,
asleep, naked, after biting a pomegranate, seeds spit
into ocean. That the bee, before a sting, craves the sweet
suck and sip of Venus-fruit. That the artist, straight-backed
in bony armchair, would doze, heavy key between thumb
and forefinger. That the clatter of metal hitting the tin plate beneath
his hand, wakes him up: a Capuchin monk technique. That she
does not tumble into the sea, his muse, afloat, scumbled there.
But when Miro pictures his wife in Woman Dreaming
of Escape
, one eye is open wide while a ladder hovers, cross-hatched,
above her head. That this wife has no exit. That the orb
disgorges the red snapper which spews out two
tigers with bayonet about to jab the under-flesh
of her arm. That I forgot to mention the elephant on spider-stilts
balancing an obelisk on back. The artist etched the sky
by noon, the backdrop after 6 p.m. That in the Thyssen,
when I was late, racing past Picasso and Chagall,
Dali bellowed, arresting my step. I lost
sight of my husband on the mezzanine. That Gala
is stung. That Pilar takes flight. That sleeping
women interrupt their spouses’ canvases.

Published on May 24, 2017