While Standing in Front of the Caravaggio

IMG_0811brush strokes like silk

on Saint Matthew’s robes,

I am brought to January,

the college library

frost clinging to the windows

and your face hidden by an oversized book.

I don’t know what to write, you say,

pushing the book towards me

Italian Artists: black shiny cover, gold print.

I slide my fingertips over the smooth,

crisp pages. Tracing muscles, cheekbones,

thinking of poetry.

Five months later, and I am here: the San Luigi dei Francesi

studying this canvas,

the contrast of light,

Matthew’s shadowed, knitted forehead,

the thin wisp of a halo,

his tense, wrinkled hands. All this

forming lines of verse in my head.

And now I know

there are two things you will never understand: art

and me.

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