The Miniaturist, 1828
Sarah Goodridge (1788-1853)
When she heard his wife had died,
she painted a miniature self-breast,
(with which he was surely familiar),
he whose name had burst out huge
into the public consciousness.
He did not ask her to join him in the forum.
She was a mere painter of large things
made small, not so much insignificant
as causing the naked eye to squint.
She continued to live off the minuscule,
the pocketable, in her unimportant way,
but no customer gave her workspace the shiver
he had brought about among the paints.
Life without ecstasy left her woeful.
She feared he would destroy the miniature,
the two baby birds, craning, eager in their nest.
But history revealed he’d locked it in a drawer,
as if the quick click of a key could keep a secret.
Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of five books of poetry and three chapbooks, with a fourth, The Last Gun, coming out in 2016. Her work is in published in journals at home (TriQuarterly, Painted Bride Quarterly) and abroad (Antigonish Review, Poetry Salzburg Review, Crannog), print and on line (Innisfree Poetry Journal, Punchnel's). She lives in Washington, D.C., where she is a member of the Poetry Board at the Folger Shakespeare Library.