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Tom in Rome

Bolder than Antonio Canova
outdoing the Apollo Belvedere,
you demolish every Red Guide reader’s
half-baked callow notion of an
adequate response to what we see:
forensically investigating Daphne,
how she limb by limb becomes a tree,
you scant the art, stern sage who’s always known
what matters in a figure is the stone.

You are toffee, you are sand in sunlight,
you are handsome, winsome, bright, and lithe:
chaste Carrara, blue-veined Parian,
hand-warmed Pentelic when you buck and writhe
more contorted than Laocoön,
diminutive fine subtle lordship, master-
work surpassing alabaster,
as I am tufa to your travertine.

Go ahead and shame us in the Forum
with your ironic fine decorum, do:
Antinous with glasses and umbrella,
deus ex machina of the novella
whose story was that my roads led to you.

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