I stand against the pallor
of a white screen,
posing for my passport photo.
The man taking the picture
tells me not to smile,
at least not showing my teeth.
So I close my lips,
letting them turn up just a tad,
like I did when I posed for Leonardo
that long ago, overcast summer afternoon
as I listened to him tell me
about his home city of Florence.
The man cuts the photos, hands one to me.
I laugh. It’s like a mug shot,
with my hair frizzing in all directions,
the oil on my face in full light.
Not nearly as flawless as Leonardo made me look.
But it’s my key to travel
down the swirling road
in the background of the painting,
to the dark trees and pools along it,
Paris, Athens, all the countries
along the Mediterranean Sea,
to the pyramids of Egypt,
to the beyond,
past this land of “sit still and pose.”
--Jennifer F., Adult