La Grande Odalisque
The anatomist’s delight,
or his dilemma?
Yes, she is...
how could she be less than perfect?
Surely Ingres didn’t get it wrong
when he painted her nude flesh
so voluptuous as to be tactile,
reclining oh so languid
on her left side,
alone in this exotic
blue velvet draped room,
looking directly at me
over her right shoulder,
of her inner dialogue.
She’s aware of my presence;
how could it be otherwise?
Surely she must feel the heat
of my rapt voyeur’s stare
on her sinuous, sensuous back.
Which brings me to the issue of anatomy,
the facts of her body.
According to anatomists
who’ve given long hours
to the study of her bones,
hidden though they may be,
she’s spectacularly deformed.
You see, her head is too small,
her neck too long,
her arms aren’t the same length
(the left is shorter than the right),
she has five extra lumbar vertebrae
that twist her spine
into an impossible relationship with her pelvis,
thereby rotating her lower body
so as to enhance her porcelain sexuality.
Speaking strictly for myself in this matter,
I couldn’t care less about the facts.
I’m delighted that art trumped science,
that reality can be elongated, rotated,
and manipulated to achieve perfection.