Photograph on Palatine Hill

by Laura Marsh

At the top of Palatine Hill, you stand cradling an infant,

a stained glass miniature I have clumsily leaded

with the cracks of a dropped photo frame, its gentle clouds

now a mass of teeth above your jagged body.


A cheap mosaic like graffiti sprayed over a brick wall,

so sorrily childish hands have tiled the glass shards in mock majesty

that vanishes on the smooth reverse of the photographic plate,

vanishing in turn onto an unwritten page.


Yet more often we are not art. How frequently I have looked,

through that glaze of weeping, for you – and in the ruins,

for a moment, have thought that you were only lost

and I was too, still asleep in your arms.