To the Legs at Table 38 in the Uffizi Gallery Café

               i. La nascita di Venere [The Birth of Venus],
                              Sandro Botticelli, ca. 1486

     As the sea sleeps, she rises, her wide hips
     dividing as she saunters, her lights out
     as she wanders the horizon blithely,
     her sights on a tiny island she’ll curse.

A mid-week sunset pinker than the lips
     of Venus, sugared with spittle of clouds
     deceiving us, spread-oystered in shiny
     mock-ivory patina—how perverse
     goddesses creep to earth to live as queens
     among this thieving populace—how light
     plays us more than a back-alley bookie
     stealing dreams from us; racing-fast planets

     themselves setting intermissions, when they
     always say, ‘we’ll be returning shortly’
     in that play of detergent spilled like warm
     olive oil over pomegranate flesh
     and heavenly bodies, I have witnessed
     Aphrodite swell and vanish, tracing
     her path in a constellation of spilled
     seeds fingered by dusk’s heavy-handed breath.

               ii. Tempera on canvas,
                              172.5 cm × 278.9 cm (67.9 in × 109.6 in)

An all-white picket-line fences in fish
     of Technicolor men no more allowed
     to run as they are to swim; irony
     drowning them in a situation worse
     than not knowing what obscenity means,
     how unkind charity can be, at night
     giving captive audiences looks she
     herself took when blind men sought to damage

     her Olympian will when, after day,
     they made off with her reputation she
     let sink into their mouths which they filled—storms
     of rumour spilled into their wide-cast nets—
     spitting up unsightly myths the goddess
     resented—how readily she changed them
     into gimmicks, editing with unskilled
     labour her critics into exhibits.

     Pornographic self-prohibition is
     a tactic idiots use to kill it;
     candidly filming then canning visions
     and thoughts heaven’s wet mistress swims across.