Never a Mary
I'm alone in the quietest corner
of the museum, both of Caravaggio's Marys
slumped in their chairs, drugged with something
given them. Their eyes don't even flicker.
In one painting, a black-winged angel
plays a violin, a dirge no doubt, old Joseph
holding the music, while the two women move
deeper into darkness. One of them clutches
the child, yet in her slumber, seems willing
to release him. I want art to be a signpost--
Caravaggio painted both his dead Marys
wearing the same hair, the same skin--
but maybe the artist was enamored more
with his red-haired model than with any
meaning for me. Maybe the guard
asleep in a corner could tell me.
I think of putting on my shoes to see
whether she's breathing. This might be
what it’s like to be the last woman in the hold
of the last spaceship circling the dead earth.
All of the whores and saints, all of the secret
police, long buried. And the child, his eyes
wide open and waiting, knowing
he can't trust me
to catch him if he falls.
Sarah Wetzel is the author of River Electric with Light, which won the AROHO Poetry Publication Prize and was published by Red Hen Press in 2015, and Bathsheba Transatlantic, which won the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry and was published by Anhinga Press in 2010. When not shuttling between her three geographic loves--Rome, Tel Aviv, and New York City--she teaches creative writing at The American University of Rome. She holds an engineering degree from Georgia Tech and a MBA from Berkeley. More importantly for her poetry, she completed a MFA in Creative Writing at Bennington College in January 2009. You can see some more of her work atwww.sarahwetzel.com.
The Ekphrastic Review
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