The Boiler

Amy Schreibman Walter

YOU TOOK ME TO THE FRICK

And we paused for a long time together
in the room with the Goya, that painting
you liked so much – stout Spanish men, axes

in their rough hands, bashing metal, making
something, or destroying.

What was important was the rendering,
the ambition, you told me, your brow
furrowing, your fingers

in my fingers. You said it was the one
painting in the whole building that didn’t fit,
placed near so many doe eyed, elegant women –

so many women in the Frick. Against
the roughness of men, in sweat –

parched by sun, ripped shorts; neighbors
to fashionable women standing in hallways,
parlor rooms. Muscles, hammers, tongs.

And I recall how sudden your lips were
under the darkness of Goya’s men,
under the domed ceiling.

Your tongue found mine while
men on the wall were hammering,
hunched over an amorphous metal,
delivering strong, steady blows.

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Amy Schreibman Walter is an American poet living in London. Her work has appeared in numerous journals on both sides of the Atlantic. She is the co-editor of here/there:poetry magazine.