Letter to Rome


Back home, opening

an old letter

I received from you,

the front of the envelope,

post marked 1931

address washed out,

sent unspecified like

artifacts to archeologists.

The neatly folded paper

inside, written upon

graph paper of rectangles

I imagine it bears

news like I got a week after

I left you. Paul committed


suicide. maybe I love

history so much

because I like to see

that people get through

horrible events and

seeing blood, toothless

nooses, brackish intent.


I miss you.





The modern art is an opening act

for the Sistine chapel.


After the school of Athens

and the heavenly patriarchs

there are women painters,

artists questioning paternity,


maybe    just before the stairs

a painting shows the train

tracks into Auschwitz No

names it’s called, the white

lines leading into

darkness, the darkness covered

with numbers. A9448, A3769, subtle in the

foreground, glaring as your eye moves up

into the gloaming.

A foreboding yellow spot

on the top of the canvas reminds

of death.

The dead who have no names,

yes, but also the living that

were turned into numbers.


Most of the people around

move quickly towards fame,

the show’s zenith,

unsure if they recognize this image.

These very same who walked over

the swastika mosaicked

on the ground of the Hall of

Constantine the transience of

signs. Alteration, like with a dress,

has possibilities of beauty or disaster.

Rebirth not always positive.


Now we move from dark into

light and “remain silence please.”



Maddie Boyd

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