Maria (after a painting by Russell Drysdale, 1950) Barmaid Maria was a mystery I tried to trace long before that painter sketched her with her fingertips at her throat, as if feeling the pulse of a gently distant sea. Wall-eyed, but seeing all, he flattered our Maria with ink strokes and coloured washes— then coaxed her further. In no time he had her posing in her best apparel on the pub veranda. That painter saw what I failed to see: the way Maria would sometimes stare beyond our village into her past, Aegean-blue and golden. With…
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