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——————They are all there: the boys
like radiantly lovely teenaged girls
flying to you with a palm or a jeweled crown
or goblet where you lie attractively
on the hard grate over the red coals,
the green cloth fortuitous; the nude
men in torqued attitudes who stoke the fire—
the bathhouse, the Platonic exercise;
and far up near one corner pointing down,
skirted and epauletted, Caesar, highest,
seated where Caesar sits, the granite drape
of his vermilion cape, and there beneath it
Caesar’s bare breast and Caesar likewise torqued
with pointing down, with such, such pointing down,
your Antichrist, his face the face of the maker’s
long-hated long-borne patron crowned with green,
a green laurel that fast withereth too, between
a pair of golden sphinxes that fast withereth too,
and golden eagles—although one has to stand
and look around awhile to see him, really;
and everyone’s eyes, the vast clear eyes of sibyls,
acolytes, virgins also, priestesses,
whores posed all in their red and saffron robes,
the eyes blue, the blue of blue diamonds, the eyes
of the faithful upturned, of the whole choir of saints,
of a veiled crone, her hand spilling a bowl
of useless money, a child is there beside her
proffering cherries, and another child, blond,
his small green apple, the apple meaning something,
and everyone’s eyes, everyone’s eyes on you.
The saints have all died for nothing. They are not alone.

————————–—Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence



Joshua Mehigan’s second book, Accepting the Disaster (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), was cited in the Times Literary Supplement, New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere as a best book of 2015. He has received fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation.




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