John the Baptist, before beheading

Leonardo, you surprised me
Wasn't he weatherbeaten like some old house
Scarred by penance, ribbed with hunger?
And wasn't his voice hoarse with shouting
his face disembodied, a king's forsaken conscience?

But you have not made him that way.
Gently you lifted his face from the memory
of some beautiful boy you longed to touch, but could not.

On the eyes, lips, hair lingers the fragrance
Of some unexpected pleasure promised, declined
His soft womany eyes smile at your lurid proposal and
Answering the question, he points coyly upward
Past the earth as if to say: not here, Leonardo,

Kevin Hill
© 1996 Copyright reserved

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