[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-

stiff walls.

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.


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