in the short hall of works authorless
and forgotten, you find
maria in mourning.
only the heavy hills
and caverns of her robe around
the almost-greyness of her body—
like a sheet on a specter, like
a hair wrapped around the curl
of your breath—are solid. her eyeless face
turns ever to the edge of the paper,
to the hand of her creator, and the hand
of theirs—petrified in the memory
of her agony, or the ghost of it,
but not the living thing.
if you had been the pupil, you too
would have stayed your pencil
rather than have her live again
the moment of her misery,
be swallowed in the beastly
belly of her heartache. how long
has she been grieving and paying
the price of her love, and how much
longer still? how many transmutations
of the flesh—to bone to dust to oil and
water to stone—must she endure
before at last she also rests?
you, too, would bury
the page like a splinter
and leave no name. you, too,
must turn away from how
her unfinished hands hover
hopelessly over the incurable
absence of where her son should be.

In response to artwork by:
Pieta (Unfinished)

pencil on paper
Sheet: 19 x 13 1/16 in. (48.2 x 33.2 cm)
Collection of Phoenix Art Museum, Gift of the Carl S. Dentzel Family Collection


Savannah Blitch is currently an undergraduate student of English Literature at ASU, a self-identified hipster, and well-renowned amongst friends for her skill with baked goods. She has been writing for most of her life, although hopefully with improved quality by now. When not mooning over other people’s works (in an academic way, of course), she enjoys singing and consuming lots of television.

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