“In the Sistine Chapel”- page 2 | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian

“In the Sistine Chapel”

A new poem by Scott Brennan

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(Continued from page 1)

globes, amulets, divans, thrones, hand-copied Bibles, putti,
Medieval tapestries, time-crazed maps, figurines, portraits

of pontiffs—the detail like too much icing on too much cake.
But, hey, what does a drop of water know of the depths

of the sea? Observe God's hand and Adam's bemused face,
the museum and the gift shop. Chronicle another chapter

of one's life in a notebook (and what a fabulous life it's been,
full of so many amazing experiences they have to be translated

into poetry)—and afterward the moment with Vanessa
in the old-fashioned trattoria when I tasted for the first time

saltimbocca alla Romana, leap into the mouth of Rome,
veal with garlic and wine sauce, and the putty-faced waiter

poured Chianti into my slightly speckled glass. The veal
melted
. . . The Chapel was so . . . What did you think of . . .

And the thousands around us (they moved me and I did
my best to move them)—all began to drift away,

leaving us with what we had almost forgotten
to appreciate: our two nearly touching fingertips.

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