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At Chartres

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Who wielded the chisel   
at the left portal,   
south porch, the scene   

of Theo chained,   
naked to the waist, leaning in   
to the brutal hand   

of what looks to be   
an even younger boy?   
What man carved stone   

to mimic flesh   
as it would look inside   
the torture of its flensing?   

How he must have held   
the scene in his own   
mind, thought it back   

to the act itself,   
modeling the lines   
with his own limbs   

so he would know   
both how a body   
bends in pain, and how   

a hand extends the flayer’s rake.

Source: Poetry (March 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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At Chartres

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