The Women Our Sons Know
On Viewing Rafael Francisco Salas’s untitled painting, March 2005
She’s a twenty-first century Mona Lisa with a Grant Wood background. She and her husband / boyfriend / partner / father / family leave Christmas decorations up all year because, what the hell, one year soon turns into the next and climbing heights to string them up incurs risk. They’ve been through enough already.
Not that she / they are afraid. No. You can see in her eyes and in her tattoo, her mandala pendant, her bare neck, she’s both tough and vulnerable. And a nice guy like you is intrigued. But it’s one thing on canvas, another in bed, still another twenty years down the road. Then with long shirt sleeves and short hair, she’ll join the whisper circle among mothers and leave her son guessing, and painting like a master.
Professor of English
University of Wisconsin, Waukesha