Moses in Medieval Glass, by Richard O’Brien

3 January 2013

A mistranslated manuscript
whittles a halo down to horns,
and serves to show
how quickly definition slips
when all that’s left is outlines, forms
we lost the knack of bending back
the tongue for.

Half-opaque, a window
leading into something else,
as an optician clips
a second lens over a blurry first
and flicks–one two, one two
until you can’t be certain
which is which.

And you, turning your nose
before a kiss as if you turned
the pages of a codex
with your vellum palms,
pursing your parchment lips,
you think of the conversion
of twelve calves and pause–
you know that there’s a boundary in this.

[Read in The Salt Book of Younger Poets]

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