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Poetry

after Ghiberti’s Gates of Paradise

The experts are saving the prophets and their wall,
___the prophets and the law, and the door
______to paradise. What does it profit
________a man to gain the whole, the world

Yet to lose, or to loose his head from the Renaissance
___and its gilt-stripped doors of bronze?
______The fire-gilded doors will be reborn,
________though not the apprentice, nor master, who formed

These out of wax and mercury, who left thumbprints in the hollow
___necks of the prophets, who shaped this one’s angular, urgent jaw.
______A guilted whore can be restored,
________seared and resealed, imperishable nation

In the hard-worded-heads of Jeremiah, Hosea, and the even-tempered John.

His hair now trimmed, his skin and its rusted lesions healed:
___be bathed in a deep and serious
______eschatological bath. Cleaned
________and restored, he is God’s blessed, muted boy.

You, still faded woman, gaze turned to one
___side, lost gilt and a laurel of hope
______around your weathered head—
________you too will be made new, and your patina lost.

Oh loss, not of dross burned away, but of the earth and its gathered glazes of time.


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