M. J. Kledzik
in a Landscape by Willem van Mieris
Emerging from this cave, she turns away
from the horizon. Distant though straight ahead,
it hums the evening chorus in gold tones.
A brighter light comes from earth, illuminating
the woman’s breast. This is
the other Mary. Her robe is blue and drapes
her silence, her perfect flesh. Did she never
grow old? She kneels, untorn by thistle. I want to press
my palms on her cool devotion. Will she turn
to see me? As if considering
a question, she places one hand on her chest,
the other on the temple of a skull
--whose relic?--while gazing
at the Crucified. Dusk rises through stone,
steel, and windowless rooms, where sentries
watch for presences unauthorized.
Now I must leave the museum to breathe again,
walk down marble steps, unlock the car; sense
an attending iridescence--fragile, quiet,
amid pulsing motors, turning wheels.