Back to Issue 36
Other work from the 2013 Randall Jarrell Competition in this issue:
unlike the other Davids, has not yet defeated Goliath,
his sling limp over his shoulder.
Though scholars write papers on the tension
in his neck, the taut muscles,
he always seemed to me unthreatened,
his leg casually lifted, his right arm slack,
his gaze off in the distance.
I'm so often admonished to tell the truth
slant that I should know better
than to accept the first viewpoint,
yet I've only just discovered that to step
to David's side, into his line of sight,
the crook in his arm raises a muscle
toward the enemy, the hand swung low
clutches a weapon just out of sight,
and war is in his white eyes.
The statue, chest out, now begs to be looked at
from the angle he was placed in
by the Accademia's curators,
his abdomen lithe, his staggering perfection
suggesting that he sends the warning look
away, to a distant foe or city.
Because we think we see the truth
but see it slant, we are quick to assume
we are not the aggressors, we mean no harm,
we do not wear the Philistines' armor,
that we will never be felled simply by stones,
that God has not yet chosen
the instruments of our inevitable humiliation.