There's a painting by Botticelli
I've always loved,
showing Venus being born naked
from the ocean and
not fearing the current.
Those around her renounce her body,
scrambling to clothe her,
turn her virginal,
contain the way her eyes cross galaxies,
shine all the way to Pluto.
But she is soft, unwavering,
not noticing the mortals' concern
about her *******
and bare collarbone that could catch water
at its base.
I found you halfway across the world on the steps of the Uffizi
and in the 3 hours it took you
to show me some of the best art on earth,
I was transfixed only
on the orbits of planets in your eyes.
Shortly before the sun set,
you took me through the secret corridor
Cosimo de' Medici built to walk across the
rooftops of the city
where you kissed me but
told me you didn't believe in love,
that all you needed was art,
and in that moment
I saw Venus in your collarbone.
Saw a shell under your feet,
saw the universe in the way your freckles connected,
saw how you immortalize yourself
among the rest of the art in Florence
so no human can bring you down to earth,
can make your heart stop,
show you what it's like to cross timezones
with a single touch.
And here I am,
wanting to be your Botticelli,
to paint the uneven ***** of your shoulders,
the crookedness of your right ankle,
your fear of exposing yourself to someone
who could love you.
It must be lonely out there, Venus,
on your little fishing boat by the sea.
Botticelli's painting was found
long after his death,
laid into the floor of
an abandoned villa in the south of Tuscany.
Venus looking lost and mortal
between cracked paint and chipping walls,
like the way you hide between
the dusty statues of the dead statesmen and fading portraits
long after the museum closes,
just you with only history to hold.
You want to believe in love
like you've lost faith in present participles and the fact
that art is still being made,
and people are running barefoot into future conjugations
Don't come back to land, Venus. Vanessa.
I won't be here waiting with a towel
or an art critic
or a spaceship.
just make a little room for me on your shell
under the sun,
atop steady waves or Florentine rooftops.
Throw the map overboard.
Let's forget the shore.
And Michelangelo and the rest of them
will smile as they see us off.