She stands seven feet tall or taller when she stands, to his scant five-and-a-half, but she will never stand again. Felled by the foul murder of her only child, she will bear him now forever mother eternal across the sawhorses of her monumental marble legs. It is and will be as it was designed: her shoulders, arms and legs too large by half for the fragile head, tilted with pity over his slight frame, that little husk, from which the folds of a winding sheet stream like polished water. Her head, his knees, his falling hair fit within the pyramid of its conception, not a line uncurved, the whole so wrong it seems inevitable, in form so elemental the statue has become an emotion. There are so few, and one of them is marble. She is more complicated than we who have not mothered the divine. The stonecutter may have known her. Only he or water running over stone for fifteen hundred years could seduce a slab into a shape so smooth and troubling. Back broken he hacked her from the pedestal. Half blind he gouged her eyes from the block. Seeing with his hands he learned her as he shaped her with his fingertips, polished her with his breath. The son he could not be, but the grieving mother sick unto death yet pitying yet awestruck yet mindless of herself was melodrama he could find a place in, again childless, spouseless always, parent nonetheless to sacred monstrosities hung in public places, despised, revered and ridiculed, except that he was mindful of his place within the place as she was never, and carved his name into the sash where she went nameless, fragile he, fragile like the wind that drives the sand that cuts the marble from the mountain.

Copyright ©1999-2006 David Hodges

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