Poetry: Histories (Severe Thunderstorms) by Christophe Casamassima

ii.

I start a fire to keep warm
inhale the mentholated hearth
but you rain down hard
with your condescending lightening

and by sheer coincidence, I find myself
—every time!—outside the Gallerie d’Orvalle
—when it rains!—and so my aesthetic
education comes with a little drip of the nose
—not a cold!—but under the Ghiberti,
the smiling Uccello, the Sibiu Crucifixion
—all reproductions!—I shed a tear
a real tear, for Ghirlandaio’s Birth of Saint John the Baptist
crumpling a little, at the center, where Elisabeth
looks down upon the newborn prefix and his nurses
—garlands, outstretched hands, and fruit—so much fruit!—
not without some exhaustion, efficient grace, where no one
has noticed the water pooling at her bosom—O Titian!
where are you now with your assumptive flying virgins!

Christophe Casamassima is the author of many books, including The Proteus Cycle (The Proteus; Joys: A Catalogue of Disappointments; Ore), Three Suite, Untitled, and Mostly Surfaces. He is the founder and publisher of Furniture Press Books, and lives and teaches in Baltimore.

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