After Rococo

dave harrity

Commissions ceased a year
before the revolution; lush
shadows across the chest
prefigure blood. As usual,
the wealthy believed their own
propriety, impressions. In sex,
tallowy thighs were fondled
with attention to particulars of
pedigree. But appetites evolved,
as they do; the rich’s rippled
flounces fed the poor. Out of
respect to the paterfamilias,
in serialized nudes of a single
family, the father’s phallus
was painted slightly smaller
than his sons’. No longer enough
rouge in the world to daub
the prodigious genitalia of
the breed, the paintings
came down, the silk burned.
Since then, progress weights
the oblivious in a prose of
misremembered fascinations,
recognitions bare & undefined.


Dave Harrity’s writing has appeared in Verse Daily, Forklift, Ohio, Copper Nickel, Palimpsest, Memorious, The Los Angeles Review, Softblow and elsewhere. His most recent book is Our Father in the Year of the Wolf (Word Farm, 2016). He is a recipient of an Emerging Artist Award and an Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council.