Gustav Klimt’s Hope I

He painted her stomach
at capacity. Within her was his
second illegitimate son. He planned
to be a better father. At forty,
he understood how to paint a complexion:
red of nearly next to blue frustration.
Before he knew the child was stillborn,
sketches show her adorned in gold leafing.
Without child: dark faces and a slack-jawed
monster. Between her legs a river
running past the boundaries of the canvas.
NICELLE DAVIS lives in Southern California with her husband James and their son J.J. Her poems are forthcoming in Caesura, FuseLit, Illya’s Honey, The New York Quarterly, Redcations, and Transcurrent. She’d like to acknowledge her poetry family at the University of California, Riverside and Antelope Valley Community College. She runs a free online poetry workshop at: