Blackbird an online journal of literature and the arts Fall 2007  Vol. 6 No. 2


Chris Abani
Victoria Chang
Michael Chitwood
Keith Ekiss
Gibson Fay-LeBlanc
Beth Ann Fennelly
Raza Ali Hasan
James Hoch
Cyan James
Julia Johnson
Larry Levis
Khaled Mattawa
Timothy O’Keefe
Catherine Pierce
Jon Pineda
John Poch
Austin Segrest
Louie Skipper
Ron Smith
Robert Thomas
Joshua Weiner
Lesley Wheeler
Charles Wright


Vanishing Point

Those tapestries were hell to hang. A cohort
of drudges had to crowd on the scaffolding,
but whatever Agostino wants . . . If only

I could have had you at that feast he gave
in his own honor. He sucked the marrow
from the last bone and cast his gold plate

out the loggia into the Tiber, then stared
at his guests until we did the same. Later
I saw servants haul in the net they’d sunk:

the old lech knows how to put on a show.
The cardinals never would have bothered
with a net, and I’m sure they wouldn’t let

one bead of dirty water touch their ermine
sleeves, not now that they know it’s not just
excrement from the Pope’s stables that stains

the water, but the blood of his bastards. Oh
don’t be afraid that someone will overhear.
Don’t you know the spies are paid to ensure

the stories get told? I’m sure our padrone is
at least as distracted by the transparent veil
chafing your breast as I am by the puzzle

of painting it. I think your God does not
like oils. He prefers fresco, brushing iron
oxide fast on wet plaster before it dries:

He would not undo His work, not even this
botched red earth. When a Borgia murders
a Borgia, the blood soaks into the riverbed

and no net can ever recover it. When a woman
gives herself to a hook-scarred, rope-scorched
fisherman, she belongs to his saltwater world

for good. Only pagan oils can be undone.
The Venetian red of your bare shoulders
tomorrow may be the ultramarine gown

of the Mother of Our Lord as she sweeps
a leaf from His hair. Perspective is all:
wherever there is more than one point

of view, cara, there is more than one god.  

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