Child Holding Potato
When my sister got her diagnosis,
I bought an airplane ticket
but to another city, where I stared
at paintings that seemed victorious
in their relation to time:
the beech from two hundred years ago,
its trunk a palette of mud
and gilt; the man with olive-black
gloves, the sky behind him
a glacier of blue light. In their calm
landscapes, the saints. Still dripping
the garden’s dew, the bouquets.
Holding the rough gold orb
of a potato, the Child cradled
by the glowing Madonna. Then,
the paintings I looked at the longest:
the bowls of plums and peaches,
the lemons, the pomegranates
like red earths. In my mouth,
the raw starch. In my mouth, the dirt.
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