After Dark After Restoration

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY

After dark Matisse’s black-eyed courtesan,
arrayed in green, yellow and ivory silk,
spends evenings alone, pining for the young
Hunter in storage. Across the gallery Picasso’s
Harlequin gossips about the museum’s
newly-acquired Roman soldiers.

One night he calls out: The Greek is back!
She smiles, uncoils her tresses,
points red silk shoes, tiptoes out of oil,
descends soundlessly to the Greek
galleries on the first floor.

The pedestaled youth knows her touch
on his marble sandal. Finger walking his ankle,
she asks, What’s it like to be conserved? He inhales.
Nothing like this. I am rejuvenated; my body hums.
I missed you —no talk, no scent — no nothing.

At his calf she inquires, Do you think those Roman
matrons nearby will brew another scandal about us?
Not a chance,
the toned youth mumbles,
distracted as her hair tickles his feet.
The new burly, curly-haired studs
will keep them busy.

How like the Romans! she responds,
resting her head against his newly-dusted
thigh. I missed you. Shall we try
the Etruscan Chariot? Rusty but romantic.

Balcony first — for old times’ sake.
He steps down, freshly smoothed
limbs full of Grecian charms.
I’m glad you’re back, she sighs,
falling with delight into
his perfectly-restored arms.


photograph of the author with two people in costumes - on the left a statue like nobility and on the right a roman centurion, taken in a pedestrianized plaza.


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