Issue 169, Spring 2004
What about one of Michelangelo’s last Pietas
in the maze of outbuildings at Sforza Castle, the dead Christ
visually carrying his mother
as she grows from his shoulder, a delicate marionette.
Like a sunflower along a road, her ginger face opens wizenly
as if she couldn’t stand more looking.
How can stone shoulder such scant curiosity, the flesh unpolished
compared to the other, more famous examples of suffering?
Not this one—the sculptor himself cut short of time—
the flesh is bronze vibrating as if emitting a nuclear wind.
What’s more, the Christ has an extra, oversized arm, a tree to outgrow time,
a trunk for the dead to lean on upon a road to elsewhere
more or less on time, a leisure the great can lend themselves.