Two sides of what used to be one wooden box hang on the walls of the Smart Gallery in Chicago. At first glance they are unremarkable: vaguely Italian-looking landscapes populated by two vaguely Italian-looking lovers, all flowing hair and slit silk. In the panel on the left, a woman lies improbably across some rocky ground—perhaps sleeping or dead—while a man leans on his staff and peers over her with a neutral expression. In the panel on the right, in front of a section of silvery sea, the same woman stands apart from the man who reaches toward her. His mouth is open. Her hands cross upwards into two woody stems and blossom into the unmistakable broccoli-floret silhouette of a tree: Daphne, turning into a laurel to escape the god Apollo.
Was that season artery or vein? when the days stretched like Broadway, & the nights undid our shirts – the temperature so slight you could raise your arms in flight & feel nothing, the body as air. But there was also the need for hurt. And dusk: a ghost of a boy tempted to feel his weight, to put his palm to the depth, touch the pupil, the dead turbine of god’s one good cataracted eye.
The morning of Claire's funeral, I lie naked on the table and wait for her mourners to arrive. Thomas scrapes a knife against whetstone in the kitchen. When he appears above me, the blade glints harsh in his hand. It's all I can see. To minimize the pain, he explains with a paternal smile. I smile too.