after Dorothea Tanning

I can hardly believe you are real,
come in the night with a present;
here, at my door, in a snow-dappled coat,
your hair illumined, your eyes small violets.

I have doors beyond doors,
canvasses propped against every wall.
You tilt your head to study my portrait
in period dress: ruched satin sleeves,

lace cuffs, the bodice drawn back
to free my breasts. You see how I’m painting
a skirt of miniature tree people?
That’s a pet gryphon who skulks at my feet.

Look all you want. I will gaze straight back.
Take off your boots, give me your socks, let’s go
barefoot together. Shockheaded shaman, you come
through the door and my room’s lit up.


Chrissy Banks lives in Exeter and has poems recently in The Rialto, the Journal and London Grip. Her latest collection is The Uninvited (Indigo Dreams, 2019) and the pamphlet, Frank from the Poetry Business. She was commended in the Poetry Teignmouth Competition 2021, the Winchester Poetry Competition 2021 and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize 2021. Find her at