by Kathleen Rooney
There are few people to whom Loulou the Pomeranian can speak his mind honestly and not be
seen a philistine. “I sometimes grow disenchanted with the Renaissance,” he can say to the
master. “All those Madonnas-with-Child. All that reverential religion.” And the master can reply,
“Why yes, I see.” But the colors, those colors! other people always say to Loulou, as if that could
persuade him, but here’s the thing: he’s a dog, and thus colorblindish. Not to mention the
macabre anatomies. Painted by men who seem like they’ve never seen a naked woman: icon
after icon and on and on, their high-up breasts, misplaced and grotesque, proffered to babies who
look like little old geezers. Even the best can be corny as sunsets. Though Loulou will allow he
admires Artemisia’s rendition for its sweetness and knowledge of what goes where. Her spirit of
geometry for the seventeenth century. And the master’s for the twentieth: a fresh-smelling
exchange. The man-sized baby has dressed himself smartly: a puff-sleeved blouse and a chic
pencil skirt. His infant-sized mother clings unweakly to his neck, her body swaddled and her hair
marcelled pretty well, considering how small she is. The disturbing inversion that is maternity.
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.