On Seeing the Hermes of Andros

Both arms amputated at the elbow;
Under a perfect abdominus rectus
The penis is chipped off, a plaything now
For the darting fish in the Aegean.
So much for the creamy anatomy of a God
In the marbled perfection of a nude.
Time, as impatient as a student’s blade,
Has dissected the sculptor’s idea
Of perfect bodies without blemishes,
Without lewd imperfecctions – the miasma
Of flesh – carving and chipping in the sea,
Laying bare the immortal, impoverished
Beauty of a God without hands,
Unable to hide his frailty.

Schuyler Henderson, Chicago, Class of 2001

Originally published in Vol. XVII: 2001