Monday, January 4, 2016

Virgin and Child

I’ll say that there are bits of gold
         stuck in her hair, star-bits, brilliant
                  blue slivers at the edge of the painting
that seem to dance in the light
         from the fire.
                  I’ll say there’s a fire even though there can’t be
and I’ll say the painting is as large as a room
         and it can be. She moves in it
                  as if it is a room,
the gold bits gleaming like candles
         that consume nothing, not even themselves.
                  The child crawls out of her arms
and onto the floor
         and his plump wrists
                  and knees
are like loaves of bread,
         his mouth smells of milk,
                  his palms are so tiny
there’s no room for even one nail hole.
         She steps out of the frame,
                  her hair sparkling
and the background to everything lapis lazuli and glittering,
         and when she calls to him, clapping
                  and laughing,
he hurtles toward her,
         on all fours of course,
                  and she catches him up
and swings him over her head,
         and her hair with the stars pinned in it
                  and the dancing blue background
slip backward into space
         and it is the child’s face
                  risen now, looking down,
into her face,
         mother and son
                  meeting each other’s eyes
as we look on.

~Kelly Cherry

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