Standing with his palette before her,
Da Vinci blended his darkest hues;
layered grays of rain-soaked slate,
olive aged in oaken casks,
sepia tones of tilled earth,
the ochre of bedlam,
bleak chaff of defeat.
He laid down his brushes to study her face,
how life’s light shone through
the destroyed landscape behind,
dipped brush to paint to curve
a burnished road below her shoulder,
ribbon a silt brown bodice at her breast,
let flow a river, silver blue, by her hair,
and cypress rising to shards of etheric peaks.
From his easel, she was passed
from drawing room to gilded hall,
with millions paid
to try to grasp
her eyes of dusk,
lips that will never tell,
hands folded solemnly as wings.
Now we, too, join the long line winding
through the catacombs where she has come to rest,
beneath the rainy streets.
chatter subsides to whispers.
We sit on the low benches,
prostrate at her unseen feet.
Art students sketch her gentle form,
rustle parchment, crisp as daybreak,
smudge fingertips over feathered lead,
and lift their faces to hers.