—After Rodin’s The Cathedral
I watch my daughter imitate
the pose of Rodin’s Cathedral.
Her arms curved in slow gyration.
It is her way of understating
the dark bronze, how two arms
can captivate the imagination
in their dizzying swirl,
find balance between
light and shadows. In truth,
the hands are both right hands
turning in on themselves, an architecture
almost sacred, serpentine, yet protective
of the space within, of what the
bronze cannot hold. My daughter bends
uncomfortably away from me, resistant, as if
her whole body is questioning
what it means to be a girl.
for the first time—what is there
and what is not from the hollow
her hands make, all the empty angles
that never touch,
the almost-grasp of the intimate.
Her wrists slight and glistening
with summer’s patina,
her fingertips conjure her being
body and soul
closing and opening
at the same time.
A few years ago, the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem hosted an expansive exhibit of sculptor Auguste Rodin. My daughter and I fell in love with his sculpture, The Cathedral. We were enthralled. And while she moved on, there was something intimate about two hands almost-grasping. It seemed to be the perfect metaphor for us as she enters her teenage years and we enter a new phase of our relationship.
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