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5 Jul 2024

Donna
Vorreyer

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New Moon

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Jul 21st

At the
Rodin Museum

Jun 22nd

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


After four sculptures

by Auguste Rodin

        I recognize my body, not in the ecstatic splay of limbs and breasts 

        he named Eternal Springtime, not in The Thinker’s poise, but in 

        the slumped shoulders of The Helmet Maker’s Wife, both of us 

        ravaged by gravity and a parade of days. Such tender decay. 


        Seventy-two hours away from you, and I am bone tired, empty as 

        a windsock, looking for something to shape the void. I read the title 

        for a cast of hands—The Cathedral. Tall fingers bent and sturdy, 

        palms facing to fashion a nave, and I recall the childhood rhyme—


        here is the church, here is the steeple, open the door and see all 

        the people. A game of dexterity, another remnant of youth. 

        Looking again, I see their curve as refuge, and I vow right there 

        that I will worship always at the cathedral of your hands, let 


        your arms be the altar on which I offer up my body, 

        supplicant, waiting to be whole again, filled.

Behind the poem...

Visiting Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum, I was struck by several sculptures’ reverence for the human body: whether lush and youthful, solid and stoic, or aged and stooped. The title of the hand sculpture, Cathedral, seemed to encapulate this veneration. I’d been away from my home and my husband for several days – my own body, tired and homesick. This idea of the body as a place of worship became the stone from which this poem was hewn.

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