Velásquez’s Secret


Velásquez’s Secret

Two large paintings
hang on the wall,
one in front of the other:
Las meninas.

I gaze at the serving maids,
the royal princess,
the court dwarf,
the sleeping dog.

The painter,
stranded behind his easel,
paintbrush waving,
stares back at me.

I turn around.
The second painting
is not a painting:
It’s a mirror.

There I am,
standing by the princess,
one of the family.
I move my hand
and wave at myself
across the centuries.

Like the four court dwarfs
staring out from their wooden
prisons on the walls in another room,
I emerge from obscurity
and join the élite:

the painter
waves his magic wand
paints me
as I stand beside
the king and queen.