The Fresco Worker Appears Suddenly In The Picture
When he rubs his hands for blood flow it snows. If I were a leper, if I were a snake… Shavings skim the fresco’s surface as strips separate, peel, palm creases deepened. …would I cease to hold these hands together, would I slough, erase my face… Slick slate bodies of fish spread wing-fins, swim and leap across the wall to form an ellipse : they mirror the fresco worker’s face as his thumb goads metal, scales polished in circles. Skin becomes scale. Lime and granite kneaded to the consistency of dough transform him. I am a leper—no, a snake that sloughs itself to reveal that supple layer. If he were a leper, like a leper, would the swirls and lines deepen, separate, cease to hold carpals to wrist to radius? If he were the snake, like a snake, at least the lines would stretch, hold, redden into pink scars. Either way he sheds skin, rubs olive oil over fingertips, the metal tool, the wall; his eyes grow as distant as the eyes of the fish. He breathes, skin passes over gills, leaves yellow wings slippery, reflection born as he swims, slick-skinned, I am land-scape, shadow on marble, shadow on grit, I am fish.