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1st Place Winner - 2022 Box Poetry Contest

          Marble, Roman, 1st-2nd century AD

          after Athens, Greece, late 4th-century BC original

          Milwaukee Art Museum

 

 

My son stares a moment at the marble statue

behind the glass, then nudges me and whispers,

Who’d want to make a naked guy, I mean, his parts…

marveling at how infinitely weird adults are.

In fact, the man’s parts have broken off, as have

his head, his arms, his entire left leg, and his right leg

below the knee. Even his nipples have worn

away. It’s amazing there’s enough to respond to:

defined pectorals, abdomen, the grooves

where his thighs connect to where his penis

and scrotum hung. Most of my father’s limbs

are frozen as if stone, his stiff legs crooked

but not bending, his left arm kinked against his side

with his hand bent double against his chest.

We tuck pillows where we can, turning him

from side to side to help the bedsores heal

but they keep breaking in. We brush his teeth.

We slide a washcloth over his face, his armpits,

his groin, then dab lotion on his untorn skin.

This competitor, the museum placard tells me,

stands in a moment of calm, anointing himself

before an event. His missing hands burnish

his chest with oil. Even through the glass

I sense his equilibrium, a tautness that persuades me

he’s present in this body, poised and alert.

 

 

Ann Hudson (she/her) is the author of The Armillary Sphere (Ohio University Press); a chapbook about radium, Glow, has just been released from Next Page Press. Her poems have appeared in Cider Press Review, Orion, Crab Orchard Review, Colorado Review, North American Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, SWWIM, and elsewhere. She is a senior editor for RHINO, and teaches at a Montessori school in Evanston, Illinois.

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