Plot to Steal Genitals From Statue Spoiled
(Headline from Weekly World News, April 21, 2003)
This intended theft should come as no surprise
for Michelangelo’s great David is the perfect mark--
seventeen feet tall on his pediment
in the Galeria dell’Academia in Firenze,
all Italian marble, smooth as desire
and as immobile. He will not run away,
will not flinch,
will not cry out
when the chisel finds its spot
and the hammer draws back.
One look at his face,
at the furrowed, frowning brow
and searching eyes,
and we can see wariness, suspicion,
a stony glare. He has been expecting
some such defilement all these years,
has been on guard for half a millennium.
And why not?
He knows about the great Sphinx at Gaza,
old no-nose the mouth-breather.
What a theft that was! Fifteen nasal tons
thumping on the sand
then subdivided for getaway.
And he knows what happened to the lovely Venus,
her long white arms snapped off,
taken by marauding soldiers,
spoils of victory.
He can’t imagine her with arms now
or with pale hands’ frozen ineffable gesture.
Where would she hold her hands and how?
Her torso is the more beautiful, he thinks,
its soft curves the more breath-taking
for lack of unnecessary accessories
and their distraction.
Maybe the same will be true
Cecil Morris retired after 37 years of teaching high school English in California, where he wrote numerous memos, lesson plans, and the occasional poem. He has had a few poems published, mostly in English teacher magazines (English Journal and California English) and small literary magazines (Poem and Hiram Review).
The Ekphrastic Review
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