In the Annunciation, I see Gabriel as suitor:
features of Florentine youth,
curls of a dandy, a lily to present
to the beauty. He is on one knee.
The young woman, non-plussed,
never expects such impetuousness
from someone she remembers
from the crush near the Duomo.
The miracle is her hand
holding her place over
the open Tanach. Tapered fingers,
sensuous, extension of draped,
transparent veil, pedestal.
Near her, architecture of stone
remembered from the Palazzo Vecchio.
In the background, Tuscan hill flora.
Downstairs, in the Restoration Studio,
I remove five centuries of grit, oxidized pigment.
X-rays show which strokes licked the apprentice’s brush,
which the master’s.
I add cerulean to her robe,
carnelian to his.
Reconfigure a shadow.
Mike Ross teaches courses in poetry writing at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UNC Asheville. His first book of poems, Small Engine Repair, was published in 2015. He is working on a second book of poems.
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