At the National Portrait Gallery I Make Impossible Requests by Leah Dawson

              O Eleanor

Your buck tooth smile
Thin lips pressed against a pink track of gums

Who could have known
Your first name was Anna

               O Eleanor
On the way to Babylon

a coyote shot between
its amber-yellow eyes.

How were you to know – molasses
shined between the glossy
blood of
larger animals –
that a 2012 study would find
tend to multiply faster when hunted

something to do with living
both as predator and prey.

Now you are a painting,
and find it difficult to shoot
with no hands still
through canvas I felt you choose
me and it was like the pull of a galaxy
or I hoped so and
has been said for narcissism
but very little.

               O Eleanor

Do you know
why some days
I am a pearl husk and other days

Leah Yacknin-Dawson is a writer from Pittsburgh, PA. She recently received her MFA from the New Writers Project at the University of Texas at Austin, where she currently teaches creative writing.