Winter 1995 • Vol. XVII No. 1 Poetry |

Nude Study

Someone lightly brushed the penis   alive. Belief is almost       flesh. Wings beat, dust trying to breathe, as if the figure   might rise from the oils       & flee the dead artist's studio. For years   this piece of work was there       like a golden struggle shadowing Thomas McKeller, a black   elevator operator at the Boston       Copley Plaza Hotel, a friend of John Singer Sargent—hidden   among sketches & drawings, a model       for Apollo & a bas-relief of Arion. So much taken   for granted & denied, only       grace & mutability can complete this face belonging   to Greek bodies castrated       with a veil of dust.

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Yusef Komunyakaa’s seventeen books of poetry include Taboo, Dien Cai Dau, Neon Vernacular (for which he received the Pulitzer Prize), Warhorses, and most recently The Chameleon Couch and Testimony. His many honors include the William Faulkner Prize (Universite Rennes, France), the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry, and the 2011 Wallace Stevens Award. His plays, performance art, and libretti have been performed internationally and include Saturnalia, Testimony, and Gilgamesh: A Verse Play. He teaches at New York University.

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Someone lightly brushed the penis   alive. Belief is almost       flesh. Wings beat, dust trying to breathe, as if the figure   might rise from the oils       & flee the dead artist's […]

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Someone lightly brushed the penis   alive. Belief is almost       flesh. Wings beat, dust trying to breathe, as if the figure   might rise from the oils       & flee the dead artist's […]

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