(Fra Angelico, Annunciation,
The thought arrives like Gabriel with its
art deco wings, sleek as glazed porcelain,
striped and full of eyes as a hallucination,
not seeming suited for flight: I could do it.
In the particular annunciation
she and the angel bow politely, hands
crossed flat over flat chests: two businessmen
in gracious, wary negotiation.
Neither speaks. She is blank as a drum,
poker-faced. But the open porch
where they incline toward each other hums
like a force field. Framed in her separate arch,
the speckled, burnished light around her head hovers,
contained but expandable, and says, think it over.
(Giovanni di Paolo, ca. 1440)
Inside, the house opened like a doll’s,
the done deal is just starting to settle
over the leaning-toward and -away
of arched walls, lily, her averted, attentive face.
Outside, the future is blowing
its gold hurricane. They are crossing
out of their companioned solitude among the animals,
the intelligent, upstanding rabbits and red, edible
flowers, their feet curving carpet needles
in the blue-green domestic grasses
they are turning to leave. Crossing into next,
its gravities, necessities, haphazard plots.
Copyright c 2006 by Jean Gallagher. May not be
reproduced without permission.