by Pia Taavila
My students now study the sculptor and statue
marking externals: proportion and scale.
We talk of the casting, of bronze, wax or stone,
of chisel and bit, of angle and stance,
the trick of believing it moved or it spoke.
We ponder intention, the artist’s technique,
all the while confronting the shock of our
selves looking in mirrors, the false masks, the pose.
Oh, to be naked, truly stripped down, exposed,
where one’s inner essence resides on the skin
in veins of fine marble, in muscle and pore.
I step off the platform, regard my life’s work
and take up the hammer to smash things
to bits, brutal and glad. The students gasp.
Pia Taavila is a professor of English at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Her book Moon on the Meadow compiled poems written over three decades, and last year a new chapbook, Two Winters, was published by Finishing Line Press.