Clare Hornsby



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With Piero’s Madonna

In a furry tent with Our Lady
Angels in umber and green
With mismatched stockings
Hold back the tent flaps
Welcoming me in. 

The dark space where they moved Her
Occasionally hums.
A smooth seat pretends to be
The chapel bench facing Her altar
In imitation of the sacred. 

Oh and we were alone then She and me
That day of blissful Umbrian autumn 
The yellow lime trees black trunks 
Slant shadow -  and from the tiny bell tower.
A drifting smoke crosses the fields
Of the early Renaissance. 

Alone, I asked Her things
I didn’t dare to ask you, like
If I go into the other room
Where the film is being shown
Will you still be there
Sitting still and heavily quiet?

Yes, she said yes - and yes you were. 
I touched your shoulder and
You spoke to me, turned gently to me. 
I went back to Her, to the dark
And there was the tent
And the angels welcomed me in.