In Padua

after Giotto

The self did not want to ride the train through the mountains,

trudge through the city to the small museum. The self
did not want to watch the informational video required
to pass through the vacuum sealed chamber

and into the chapel that held the first frescoes
of human emotion. And too many births.
The self did not want to see them. Or their cycles,

presentation, ascension, full frontal pain.

The self liked it better when pain had been blanketed.

Displayed without hand gestures or movement of cloth.

The self eyes the mother in the upper right corner:

she knows what will happen, the next panel shows it.

The infant indefinite stares back in the microclimate,

kept at the right temperature to remain without fade.

The self stands in wet boots and regards this calamity.

Through a crude opening the soul has flown out.
The self should start praying, the self
should start painting, the self should be kinder
to its own far-off mother, with her anxieties
and graying hair. This is the true cost
of making things legible. Awkwardly
the self turns away from the chapel
and toward the glass chamber
with the double-locked doors.