Madonna of Bruges
How can I help but be moved
by the hollow at her marble throat,
smoothed plane of her jaw, eyes
softly cast down
looking, not at the boy
who leans on her knee
hugging one of her hands,
but towards the book she holds,
open-palmed, with the other?
She looks real my daughter says
of the postcard I carry home.
And, yes, the master has carved life
in her hair, eyebrows, lips,
soft indentation of her chin,
the folds of her hood.
Real, yes. But her untroubled
love for a boy who could only
deepens the bruises
from my too-real daughter’s flailing
moods; my own lack of serenity
mirror-altered if not rebuked
in the tenderness her stone exudes.
Frances Boyle is the author of two poetry books, most recently This White Nest (Quattro Books 2019), as well as Seeking Shade, a…
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