Degas’ Les petits rats

Cuts through artifice—
rue Victor Massé, 9ème arrondissement
opening the door to his atelier
—the fringes. Decomposition. In doing so, it is possible?
Wiping ink away. Just one last time. Flattened monotypes
swallowed. Letting go of caricatural mirrors.
Rive Droite laundresses. Milliners. The faceless.
Bourgeois of the time.
Brief loves, unmade,

emerge from a dream
chaos, unreal landscape, disorder
obsessed. Scaffolding. Jagged space filled
with absences. How do you look
past the gaps? Les petits rats—the little rats,
corps de ballet dancers. Feet raw and bleeding.
L’Opéra de Paris, rue le Peletier,
never alone in a crowd. Cabaret singer in black stockings.
Female nude taking her ablutions.
Is it capable of an answer?

Ilona Martonfi