The Berlin Nationalgalerie in 1960
We walked through the maw of this lion
that lay with its paws out: its grimace
all pediment, step and pillar,
the dirt from the nineteenth century.
We found Agamemnon inside,
marbling a wall, and Friedrich’s ascent
of the crimson stairs
to greet his generals in the snow,
children in headscarves and pinafores
scampering at an Alpine brook,
while farmers stoked an iron mill,
each face turned from every other,
and a lipless bust from the Renaissance,
stone become skin become stone
as it took its second glaze
when the Russians came by on a group ticket.
Outside in the black-and-white sky
no one is planning to build a Wall,
and thunderbolts might strike right now.