My Canvas

(Inspired by the painting and book, Girl with a Pearl Earring)

I forget the market square –
blood under fingernails,
flies drunk in the air.
I forget my cracked hands
from too hot laundry water
and re-scrubbing front step bricks.

I am the stage.
Look over your shoulder, he says.
I look beyond my present.
Blue and gold scarves adorn my head
like exotic plumage.
I sit taller,
daring to stare back into slate blue eyes
that see only color and shapes.

A hand dabs with a palette knife,
then soft brushes smooth over
my canvas.
Layer by layer,
with pigments and shadows,
the other me appears.
The white of pearl glows
at the edge of each eye
asking you to believe.

Cristina Norcross's picture

Cristina is the author of 5 poetry collections including, Land & Sea: Poetry Inspired by Art with co-author Irene Ruddock (2007), The Red Drum (2008, 2013), Unsung Love Songs (2010), The Lava Storyteller (2013) and Living Nature’s Moments: A Conversation Between Poetry and Photography (2014) with co-author, Patricia Bashford. Her works appear in North American and international journals, such as The Toronto Quarterly, Red Cedar, Verse Wisconsin, The Moon Magazine, Your Daily Poem and The Nervous Breakdown. Featured in the Bay View Arts Guild exhibit, ARTiculate (2011, 2012), Cristina’s work also appears in the anthologies, Contemporary Women’s Literature (2007), Verse & Vision (2011, 2012), Sounds of Solace (2013), A Touch of Saccharine (2014), and The Ariel Anthology (forthcoming). She was the co-editor for the project One Vision: A Fusion of Art & Poetry in Lake Country (2009-11) and is currently one of the co-organizers of Random Acts of Poetry & Art Day. Cristina is also a contributing member for the Art Ambush Project. Cristina is the founding editor of Blue Heron Review (, an online poetry journal. Find out more:

Last updated August 26, 2011