The background vivisects the prancing horse, but his regal rider sits un-upset, her purple habit a formidable chic. In French the title means the blank signature, but in English it often becomes the blank check. Perhaps, thinks Loulou the Pomeranian, because the image suggests indeterminacy and excess? Opulent, opulent, to be a horsewoman defying the laws of perspective. Occlusion and closure allow humans – and for that matter dogs – to see. All the pieces of the lady and her steed are there, but slatted apart. Overlapping in a way that suggests near-and-far. But here, the background occludes the fore. Her hair gleams red-gold like her animal’s hair. To Loulou, the horse’s expression floats somewhere between blank and knowing: his eye black and impecunious against the landscape’s extravagance. Loulou thinks of the difference between teacher’s pets and ordinary pets. The woman astride her creature – crop and reins in one hand, the other hand cropped off – reminds Loulou of his own duty to ensure that the master and Georgette are always adequately companied. Or is that duty theirs to him? Is this piece, in pieces, about glamour well-shaped or glamour misshapen? Loulou strives to be a champion companion. It all comes down to perception.



The author of eight books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, as well as a founding editor of Rose Metal Press and a founding member of Poems While You Wait, Kathleen Rooney is the co-editor, most recently, of Rene Magritte: Selected Writings, and her second novel, Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk, was published by St. Martin’s Press in January 2017. Her reviews and essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Allure and The Nation. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay. Follow her @KathleenMrooney

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