“Mort Vie” the plaque said
About the painting of rabbits meant for the stew
How frank the French are: Dead Life
So clear, direct, and sad.
Yet beautiful too
Glossy pelts, soft feet, loppy ears
Draped next to the shiny tureen
Surrounded by onions and savory herbs.
Outside the frame I envision a woman,
Related to this starving artist,
Waiting for dinner to be painted
So she can cook it.
Again: so French
This tasteful pairing of life and death
In a painting good enough to eat
Where each sustains the other.
I much prefer the English “Still Life,”
A double entendre that would suggest
Or at least pretend
The rabbits are not dead, but resting.