Heather Dubrow is John D. Boyd, SJ, Chair in the Poetic Imagination at Fordham University in New York City. Her work includes a forthcoming collection of poems Forms and Hollows (Word Press, scheduled for February 2011), two chapbooks of poetry, a play produced by a community theater, and poems in numerous journals; she is also the author of six scholarly books, a coedited collection of essays, a forthcoming edition of As You Like It, and many articles on early modern/Renaissance literature and on pedagogy.
The sexton admits us right before closing.
“One of the most influential instances
of fourteenth-century Byzantine art,”
I announce as we hurry in.
(Look carefully, she may be on the final.)
“Compare the Annunciation at the Victoria and Albert.”
(I have eleven typed five-by-eight index cards on her
and a new PowerPoint presentation
instead of all those slides.)
A mother in a womb of bright gold tiles,
a bubble that will never burst.
She is slender as smoke,
or my faith.
Powerful as her own.
Look carefully, she is the final.
I try to recite to myself the four principal characteristics
of the Byzantine Palaeologue Revival (1260-1450),
the mantra of an unbeliever,
the tiles that pave my mind.
But cannot remember,
or only broken fragments,
as she rises above me
in a sky of unbroken gold.
This is no country for art historians.
Previous published in the
issue of Harvard Magazine.
Poetry in this post: © Heather Dubrow
Published with the permission of Heather Dubrow