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In 2022 during a routine X-ray of a Van Gogh painting about to be hung at the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh, conservators discovered a self-portrait of the artist concealed in layers underneath “Head of a Peasant Woman.”

Reuse we dowhat we know of our lives.
Little or big hurts, moments of joy,
what we concealed in secrets and lies. 

Repeated themes we cannot escape.
Darkness that rims the eyes, tired ears,
all the days we breathed afraid

somewhere there in each artist’s work
what lingers refigured, stashed 
in the back of memory’s trailer park. 

Man with a hat and scarf, this woman 
in moth wingsimages of pasts
smoothed over, redolent and human.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet. She is a Contributing Editor to Verse Virtual. She paints only word portraits. Website:

© 2022, Tricia Knoll


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