Book of Statues
Because I am a boy, the untouchability of beauty
is my subject already, the book of statues
open in my lap, the middle of October, leaves
foiling the wet ground
in soft copper. “A statue
must be beautiful
from all sides,” Cellini wrote in 1558.
When I close the book,
the bodies touch. In the west,
they are tying a boy to a fence and leaving him to die,
his face unrecognizable behind a mask
of blood. His body, icon
of loss, growing meaningful
against his will.
Copyright © 2016 by Richie Hofmann. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 12, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“I was eleven years old when Matthew Shepard was murdered in 1998; he died on the twelfth of October. Around the same time, I was working on a school project on Italian Renaissance sculptures, so many of which depict male nudes. These two events are linked in my mind, as I think it was the first time I began to glimpse the costs of being a body that desires.”
Richie Hofmann is the author of Second Empire (Alice James Books, 2015).
Date Published: 2016-10-12
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/book-statues