Charlotte Mandel

Three El Greco Portraits

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Life-size, their eyes fix to our progress within hushed walls. Near-naked the crucified not quite of earth white flesh ascendant descending into an empty grave: Touch me if you doubt. The Cardinal glows in luxurious red hands white as a dead man’s enthroned within rites of bonebreaking iron nails. black-rimmed gaze: Bend low to prove your worth. The artist long-bodied half-twisted follows each moving form step by step in judgment of locus in the composition: Come, you belong to me.

Charlotte Mandel's seventh book of poetry, Rock Vein Sky, recently published by Midmarch Arts Press, was listed as a Best Poetry Book Read by Montserrat Review. Previous books include two poem-novellas of feminist biblical revision, The Life of Mary (foreword by Sandra M. Gilbert) and The Marriages of Jacob. Visit her at