Wafers of paint are flaking from the frescoed clouds in the Duomo of the sky.
Shredded angel feathers drift down in the foreground, on swift brush strokes
of houses, on the smudge of a greyhound tugging its master, a charcoal bruise,
into the wind. Chimneys’ floating ivory puffs above the rooftrees disappear,
cottages dotted with scattered cadmium, a parody of the last of the light.
Branches clot with gesso, hedges heavily daubed with pearls. A tinker’s cart
trundles through the town, its silent wheel tracks whitewashing the road.
Who are these standing behind on the terrazzo, dressed in mosaics of gold?
A wedding party? Popes or patrons of the arts? Slowly their tesserae go out
like votive lamps. Radiant apostles at either pillar, their faith faltering, turn
to statuary, immured in thick impasto. Beyond the archways’ salted brickwork,
the sea’s cobalt is icing over. The fleck of a lobster boat draws the horizon line.
Inside the cabin a child studies the frost flowers etched on the glass. Intently,
her warm finger pressing down, she writes her initials. So the picture is signed.