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Woman.

Charlotte F. Otten

I am De Kooning's woman (no offense).

On my knees, I stare into the limpid water beneath the dock of a deep bay on Lake Superior, into the eyes of small fry that hang around the dock and decorate my hair. Two sets of maloccluded teeth smile back, my fuchsia shirt clashes with the palette of the sunset in the bay.

I am not Milton's Eve, Narcissus in a love scene. My eyes reflect my father's as a boy sinking in the slime of a Chicago open sewage pit, and mother's as a girl near drowning on a Sunday in a Dutch canal.

I need a Namma Guelle, a "Name-Fish," here in the North, what the Lapps used in baptism to protect themselves against the spirits that I see adrift in my own eyes in water purer than my mirror. I want to be impervious to light.

The sun sets. My images disperse.

"I paint myself out of the picture."

COPYRIGHT 1996 George Mason University
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Otten, Charlotte F.
Publication:Women and Language
Date:Sep 22, 1996
Words:163
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