1494 (The Statue of Snow)

by Sharon Ashton

Snow swirls down across the slow grey Arno,

blankets the city, stifles its stench, drifts

between arches and softens the square stone

palazzo, where a sculptor  is carving, 

teasing and half-releasing from crystals,  

the muscles, sinews, veins and bones of an

angel; its genitals so true, boys jeer

and mothers cover the eyes of daughters…

Michelangelo fulfils his duty;

satisfies Piero de Medici,  

who takes the glory for Florence made more

lovely – until the thaw, when only whores

coiling their hair by candle-glow, still pause,

to dream of a man awakened from snow.