Sonnet for da Vinci

I copied, once, the girl with tousled hair
but used more color: ocher, umber, green.
I had a crinkled print of her. I'd stare
and paint and work for hours at the sheen
of cheeks and chin, the shadow of her lips,
the angle of her neck and umber eyes.
When I copy, something always slips
out from my brush. At least the effort buys
a portrait of a sister, not a twin,
a clumsy echo of the girl he saw.
He saw sienna curls surrounding skin
and had to paint the object of his awe.
I have never been compelled so strong
To paint like making color solid song.

Originally appeared: Cicada Magazine, November/December 2012