The Burghers of Calais in Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden
Not even the Hirshhorn Garden’s
small reflecting pond
was salvation from
humidity’s heavy hand
Sun poured heat relentlessly
From cloudless skies. I moved
Closer to Rodin’s
Burghers of Calais,
to visit with the bronze man
among them whom I most admire--
He is cast looking down
head in hand, anguish deep
at leaving home and hearth for duty
I see him as a man despairing
of these futile duties,
yet mired permanently in bronze,
unable to move himself or his city.
I peek up, into his face,
My eyes tear up at his
well-sculpted agony, then
Rivulets of sweat run down
his cheeks as well mine.
I shake my head—is this illusion?
An empty plastic water bottle
lies next to the statue.
Someone has tossed a saving bit
of water onto the face of my Burgher.
His tears are waste
Mine are simply wasted.
Joan Leotta is a writer and story performer who has loved playing with words on page and stage since childhood. She is especially intrigued with the beauty of the ordinary and with finding alternative realities for visual art and sculpture
The Ekphrastic Review
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