In the Absence of Memory

Portrait of the Artist's Wife, Jeanne Hébuterne, 1918. 101x66cm (40x26in.) Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA.

Her mother on all sides of her, a real woman with reddish brown hair like hers. A hot wave passed over her. She didn't want to leave the last painting, Jeanne in a tall drooping hat. The frame faded and Mother stood before her, away from the wall, in textured blue fabric and round flesh smelling of lavender talcum powder. Mother, coming toward her, reaching for her. Petite Jeanne. Jolie Jeanne. I was once inside her body, she thought. She felt me there in the innermost part of her.