Family in Miniature

The Layout
I recognize myself from my white beard;
actually I am the only one with a beard – black or white.
My wife stands in front of me 
with a slice of smile on her ashen face.
We are all flat like shadow theater figurines:
Our daughter, our gradson,
our sons and their wives across us,
stacked in pair on top of each other,
glued to a two dimensional void.
My mother-in-law stands
just above our older son. 
The painter apparently placed her
at a level higher than anyone else
— and understandably so.

The Colors
We are all wearing Ottoman garments
of 15th or 16th century:
Men in caftans with embroideries
on the collars and sleeves
with white turbans of exactly the same shape.
Our grandson, still a boy, has a pointed hat
in a joyful carmine red.
My cloak shines with a Prophet-green;
my sons’ coats dance with
different shades of indigo blue.
Women of the family imitate hourglasses
with their belted dresses
competing with each other
in the richness, brilliance 
of their sparkling colors:
ultra-marine, Persian-blue,
violet, purple, gold, gold,
and tangerine.
Their head scarves though
agree politely on an imperial Turquoise
or Mediterranean blue.

The Delivery
We are all positioned in straight profiles
(the ones on the left looking to the right,
the ones on the right looking to the left)
except my mother-in-law
who is painted from the front.
With her left hand, she is touching
a vaguely lamb-shaped cloud
colored a dull egg white;
with her right hand, she is extending
a partially sketched rose to her daughter:
tentatively yellow on the left,
just a few black brush strokes
on the right.

I am looking diagonally down
toward the lower right corner,
where I, only I, see
the entrance of Azrael,
the intransigent Archangel of death
disguised as the grocery delivery boy
who instead of our Thanksgiving turkey
is carrying a miniscule blood clot
in his terra cotta brown-bag.

Painted on the back of a playing card,
we are all tiny, half the size of a safety pin.
Curious, I turn the card:
Ace of hearts!
My mother-in-law
murmurs from the above:
What else would you expect
a family to be?