Poetry

Looking at Medieval Art

Richie Hofmann

I’m by myself again, looking at bright green tapestries,
a painted box in which was kept
a human heart. A skeleton with a long, pointed pole
piercing the ribs of a dying man.
I lunch alone on chunks of venison. The Black Death
feels distant, like you.
The medieval streets have been widened by
modern instruments of pain.
I look for a stranger with whom
to act out the gamut of jealousy, obsession, control—
until his body, like a soul, slips out from mine.

Richie Hofmann is the author of Second Empire. He is currently Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University.
Originally published:
June 1, 2020

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