My brother became a Jew when he was thirty-two,
and Picasso was a closed book to me until I arrived in
Barcelona. When I drew eyes, they went where eyes
belonged. We did not believe in religion growing up.
Or maybe my brother did. Picasso ate confusion for
tapas, understood the face as a jewel. We went with
a friend to her blood-soaked Church of Christ, sampled
Quaker Meeting with my grandmother, celebrated
Martin Luther King Day at the local synagogue.
But none of it took in me. Throughout the galleries were
Picasso’s young work, his twenty-something visions.
And in them were figures, a show of realism, a fluid hand
at work. My brother was the logical one, the thinker.
And there he was, in a frame, familiar against a yellow
mournful background. He wore a soft felt hat and a dark
suit. Picasso had painted him. I lingered at his face,
comforted to know he was here in this museum.