LE FAUX MIROIR

by Kathleen Rooney

 

An Empyrean eye, giant and lashless, its celestial iris filled with sky. Called The False Mirror, Georgette regards it more as two-way. Man Ray owned it from 1933 to 1936, and said the painting “sees as much as it itself is seen.”

 

This image helped her husband make it big. An American television network took it as their logo. The sky is huge; fancier to say hypertrophied. The eyes of the beloved are only centimeters wide, but within them lies eternity.

 

The pupil of this eye is flat and black, but the eyes of her husband never lack spark. Falling in love is like clouds sweeping the sky, and gives the perception of infinite depth. For years Georgette has had the impression of all space-time taking place simultaneously. She to Mag and Mag to her are like the earth’s atmosphere, scattering light every which way in a constant random variation.

 

The real sky, Loulou the Pomeranian has observed, is uncontrollable, because natural daylight is impossible to replicate. “The master’s sky is peaceful, serene and sky-like,” he says, and he is right. Mag painted the casino in Knokke, and his murals obscure the real time of day in the way casinos desire: artificial cloudscapes.

 

The three of them don’t care for gambling, but they have their amusements. They tell each other silly jokes. “Past, present, and future walked into a bar,” says Magritte. “It was tense,” says Georgette. Poms have protuberant pink tongues and tend toward the pop-eyed. Sometimes the three of them laugh so hard together their eyes almost come out.

 

A work of art is a consensual illusion that can enhance the understanding of things quite real. Their marriage is a work of art.


A founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait, KATHLEEN ROONEY is the co-editor with Eric Plattner of Rene Magritte: Selected Writings (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and her second novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, is forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press in January 2017. She lives in Chicago with her husband, the writer Martin Seay.

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