Kathrine L. Wright
-Da Vinci’s Exhibit, Boston
Museum of Science, May 1997
"Let the dark and gloomy air be
shown battered by the music of
contrary and convoluted winds."
We’ve found many notebooks since you died,
their tired pages creak and crackle when we bend
at the books, their backs, to look inside you.
The chambers created by other leafy drawings
pressed between drawings of a brain,
the bones that run from thigh to foot, even
the womb, which you mostly got right,
that ethereal pocket, where graft upon graft
a body forms.
They say there are over 120 chapters
of your anatomy book, hand, vertebrae,
swirling hair that cascades down a page
like water down one of your water tools.
They say you died before you finished
and don’t we all
that vanishing point never clearly
in view until you’re on the horizon
of it. The meridian of your days, building
watches, helicopters, a cart with a spring-driven motor,
your bronze horses, and so much of it lost.
It took hundreds of years to catch up.
Some aunt, sister, perhaps in her sorrow,
caressed the covers of your journals,
stacked them in a crate, or a corner
and no one missed them.
I’d have to say you were too discreet
about your lovers, or too wild
with your ideas, that you forgot
to share them.
Perhaps the one there with you
when your heart closed in
perhaps he thought those books
were the silly dreams of a not-so-talented
sculptor, though he did love your hands.
Who was there to tell us?
And how did the tired old Sicilian
who came upon those etchings
of the jaw, the fibula, anvil,
sternum, how did he sit back
wild with wonder, screaming
to his wife, "Letta, come look,
Vite, vite. Noli mi tangere. Don’t touch."
So old, they might split apart.
And how she must have wanted to caress
their curves, the liver, the umbilical cord, breathe
in the light as it dripped over the whole chapter of the genitalia,
how she must have wanted to brush away
the tired moisture collecting in their hands.
Date of Birth:
October 4, 1965
Boca Raton, Florida
storySouth, Weber Studies, Cenotaph, La Petite Zine, etc.
Utah Arts Council
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