Victorious Youth, by Leanne Ogasawara
a Sonnet in the Fibonacci Sequence+
Shipwrecked. Underwater. Barnacle encrusted. A bronze statue. Waiting lifetimes at the bottom of the sea. Till Italian fishermen pulled you up in international waters between Italy and Croatia. How alarmed they must have been that summer’s day, catching you in their gnarled nets, like pulling up a dead body. Word soon crept out, of a shipwrecked treasure-- a bronze statue that could be the work of Lysippos-- sculptor to Alexander the Great and known throughout the ancient world for his statues of athletes. You have been here in the museum for as long as I can remember, and no matter how many times I come to stand before you, I always find something new in which to delight, as I circle around and around you—as I am circumambulating you—I know a lifetime would never be enough.
Oh, how your career took off, first hauled out of the sea and cleaned up, then hidden away in a cabbage patch till an art collector from Gubbio, who had bought you for $40,000, just one step ahead of the Carabinieri, who were hot on the trail, chased you all the way to Brazil, where you were concealed in a monastery for several years, under the murkiest of circumstances, before dealers felt it safe enough to approach Mr. J. Paul Getty to see if he would buy their boy.
Well, Getty said, no but then changed his mind and asked for an inquiry into your provenance—are you stolen? and whose patrimony are you anyway? by then the Italian police were banging on doors, demanding you back, even after Getty was dead and the museum purchased you, the Italians still have not given up. Carbon-dated back to ancient Athens, when a wealthy merchant wishing to commemorate his son’s triumphs in the Olympic games—Victorious Youth-- has you cast in bronze, your right hand pointing to your victory wreath. Such a beautiful start, but then the Romans ripped your feet off dragging you back to Rome as more war booty. When fate would find you shipwrecked, cast to the bottom of the Adriatic. Where grown heavy with barnacles, you sleep underwater. I couldn’t stop imagining you. Laughing at us. Our temerity. Foolish. Humans.
++ 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89
Leanne Ogasawara has worked as a translator from the Japanese for over twenty years. Her translation work has included academic translation, poetry, philosophy, and documentary film. Her creative writing has appeared in Kyoto Journal, River Teeth/Beautiful Things, Hedgehog Review, the Dublin Review of Books, the Pasadena Star newspaper, Sky Island Journal, etc. She also has a monthly column at the science and arts blog 3 Quarks Daily. Also forthcoming in Pleiades Magazine.
12/28/2020 12:26:31 am
Sound and mathematics.
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