The face of the Madonna with child
makes a dark mirror of what you are to feel:
the temporary but desperate way
a part of you is wounded
until the hurt becomes a lens.
Inside you is a city
the mosaic spells out with tiny precious stones
across the ceiling and the walls,
beginning with gold around the edges
and ending with the eyes’ inscrutable gaze.
And the city has its currency: every tessera is a coin
you must spend by looking
to comprehend the Madonna’s neck tilted in thought,
the baby happy and silent like a secret.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.