SUNLIGHT, IN A BEAUTIFUL GARDEN
(The Cloisters, Upper Manhattan,
capital I’m gazing at
into a cat-faced Devil --
just swallowed a soul.
thin smile spans a limestone block
frog-eyed minions prod roped sinners
roaring flames of Hell.
upside down -- kicked shanks trail
the corner, ready to be hurled.
a medieval square of
and gentians bobs
in a breeze that brushes
living carpet, sighing
potted orange trees
buttressed by sandstone
certainty: a riot of petaled
and stars where terrors
Below are checked by chiseled
-- Its snarling beasts
faith-tamed. Watching streaked sparrows
down to sip at fountains
from ruined convents at Bonnefont
Cux, I finish off my baguette crust
contemplate grave courtesies
nodding lavender and rose
offer up in stained-glass hues,
these less hallowed times
their sward of grass.
First published in What Rough Beast (June 12, 2019)