The gateposts flutter with sonnets
in rich florentine hands. The work
of sculptor and vile abuser
Benvenuto Cellini stands
in his walled garden, unfinished.
Dukes and Duchesses pay handsome
fees to see it done. In the shop
the cracked furnace bears stigmata
of bronze. And a stray cat stares at
you, the reader of this poem.
Its eyes are black and you shiver,
looking up at the cinder hole
in the roof where hastily rigged
boards let rain fall on the steaming
ash pile, the dark droplets of bronze.
What are you doing in Florence
during the renaissance? and how
did you come to be in this hall
of works? Nobody knows. A girl
stops and waits in the cold doorway.
Without a word you both agree.
In the garden, the nieces watch
the statue grow white hot and melt.
“Medusa!” they say. “Medusa”
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