I Know You, by Thea Calitri-Martin
I Know You
Your bust, on three layers of marble: an oxblood block,
red for the heart, a book-sized slab of deepest black,
for misery. The thick, umber base, veined with gray, is your
red-dark autumn. All on a tabletop of timeless ivory serpentine.
A bronze-black patina shades your skin, that of a European Jew.
Light reflected on your crown bypasses your eyes, catches the
weary folds beneath, then flows into the valley above your upper lip.
No indulgent fat can form. it is burned away.
This side of your long oval face and jaw is shadowed. Light
finds the wind-blown hair, bushy, behind your ears. You are
thinking, mouth calm, reflective eyes deep behind their lids.
A delicate face that draws to a pointed chin. Tired.
I have been heartbroken and uplifted by your symphonies,
played them on my horn, exhausted my lip to express their beauty.
Here, I see the heavy weight of creation in your eyes. Two years
before your death, the visions in your mind still fight for release.
Your wife Alma said that August Rodin “fell in love" with you
over the course of your twelve sittings. I imagine the robust
power of Rodin’s energy meeting the fine, irritable point of yours.
Thunder and lightning into clay, plaster filled with molten bronze.
Thea Calitri-Martin is a poet and musician who lives in the beautiful hills of Pomfret, Vermont. She enjoys reading and singing her poetry in various venues and is the principal french horn with the Vermont Philharmonic.
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