La Gioconda, by Richard Meyer
This way to the Mona Lisa
Only the tired guard shows no surprise.
With folded arms he leans against a wall
and notes one woman moving through the queue,
a blonde with ample breasts and slender thighs.
The best today, he thinks. Well built and tall.
He stutter taps a foot against the floor,
and checks the time, and yawns a little sigh.
To him you’re like some criminal of war
condemned and placed on permanent display,
encased in sturdy glass for all to view.
You’ll never be released and cannot die.
He stands at ease. He rarely looks your way,
accustomed to the smirk behind his back
and numb to eyes that slice across his neck.
This poem first appeared in the journal Measure, and it won top honours in the 2013 Great River Shakespeare Sonnet Contest.
Richard Meyer, recipient of the 2012 Robert Frost Farm Prize, lives in Mankato, MN. His book Orbital Paths was a silver medalist winner in the 2016 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards.
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