In 1892 a man awoke wishing his name meant
detour on the way to pleasure because the angel
wings he sprouted in the night, though useless,
came with the most arduous requirements
for care. His neck grew long and exhausted
always having to reach his face around to peck
away the chiggers and the grit. He went through
the streets wrapped in so many gray scarves
people mistook him for a cloud. Though he was
more than just a font of gloom. He translated
Medea and The Bacchae into French. The scripts,
while obviously the work of an amateur,
were warmly received. Other things happened,
possibly the most important being that when he died
his bones came to rest upon an English heath.
Henry Moore, age eleven, walking lost in one brown
chill of spring, already convinced he would
never adequately render a single human face,
found the bones, mistaking them for the dead
branches of a tree that had tried in its sprouting
to turn human. It was like watching fire,
Henry in his later years said of this moment.
It was like watching fire, then becoming fire.
Suddenly you could make everything as you do burn.
Copyright © 2020 Charlie Clark
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.