I based a poem on a detail from this painting by El Greco, titled ‘La Sagrada Familia.’ The postcard shows only Mary’s face.
Detail of La Sagrada Familia
after El Greco
What you see is my face
below a psychedelic nimbus,
hair held in place under a lace mantilla,
eyes downcast, skin like cream,
lips and robes stained
the color of ripe berries.
What you don’t see is the infant
held to my breast, his fingers
entwined with mine.
I wish I could show him to you,
but he’s been cropped from my story;
he’s soil, cosmic dust, words on a page.
I hope no one takes this poem as sacrilegious, although I suppose there’s no way around that it is. I’m thinking of how Mary would feel, having her son taken from her. If I were Mary, and very bitter, I might feel this way.