[Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci, Sandro Boticelli, 1476]
There is an object on my desk.
It has been here a long time, catching bits
of dead insects, dust, black misshapen pieces
between its hundreds of radiating white walls.
I examine the round flat papery thing in my hand
to see what has fallen into it,
what comes from it,
can’t hold on when I tip it.
Old tooth gray and flecked, I press
it between my thumb and fingers:
an even pierce of hundreds of top
edges of papery walls; an Indian sleeps on a bed of nails, the same
goodness of impression everywhere
at one time.
I look at the underside:
dried and bumpy marshmellow
shallow crevices that hint
of a lithe star stuck to it.
I slide my thumb, bumps drag my skin:
a momentary resistance in my hand;
a current up my wrist through to my forearm to biceps
and deltoids and into my shoulder and down
the slope of my shoulder
blade which registers into my spine
and up my mind.
Whistle thin holes between Japanese rice
paper, hundreds of rooms with separate activities of air,
color, smudge, fleck, pock. I run
down a long hallway, passing
door after door, chambers of a white
hospital, dirty chunks
of people inert upon chalk-
My feet pock into gouges.
The gutter narrows. A piece cracks
from the wall and clacks, wedging
the way. I keep going.
I enter a calcified cave of white
knives, a thumb presses the upper
edges. I drop
it to my desk and then pick it up..
Pieces crumble and break in my hand.
I finger them and let them fall.
This thing is changing.