It is not Apollo that you really wish to see in the belvedere,
But your own sleek, sloughed-off, most enigmatic self,
As if the old lifeline enjambed, and in the basic nude you were standing there.

Yes, there is another sentence, and, so you think, it speaks the truth—
Those gleaming muscles, tendons, propelled by inner drive,
Select from their allotment this shining figure of a youth.

Up high, up there, because the secret mind adores high art—
You look down on the dump and all the rubber tires,
Call in the truck for just one more, and tell it to depart.

It is a funny thing, this taking something that belongs in Rome,
And on this balcony reenacting something like its pose
Just because you believe it never really found a final home.

The engram must have stuck, a picture in your high school days,
And in this handsome, hidden enclave on a hill,
You can unwrap the figure for its final phase.

The view is still there—alas, the smouldering and the rubber tires—
What would we do if all the pictures, statues, of the world
Could not travel even for a day as far as our desires?

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 6 Number 8, on page 45
Copyright © 2019 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com
newcriterion.com/issues/1988/4/belvedere