Inside Limits

Tacked to the wall, 

the art print of “The Last Supper”

fades from sunlight

washing through the upstairs window

with the breathtaking view

only the visiting artist noticed. 

It measures my life, vanishing ambition,

by the dissolving colors. 


Once, in my car long ago, a girl asked me

to take off my watch because

“It ticks too loud.”

It’s still too loud at night now. 

In the dark the luminous dial

hangs on the doorknob. 

The insistent secondhand

sweeps away my birthdays. 


On the shelves crammed with unread books

obsolete pink and tan computer cards

stolen from my defunct life among machines

mark my limits. 


Seen through v’s of discarded indoor antennas

v’s drift against the always slate-gray sky —

then disappear. 

Their choreographed wingdance displays

the perfect harmony of form and function

that Da Vinci tried to model–

and failed–

reminding me of his last words 

and of all the books 

which will never be read

and all the poems

which will never be written

and how much will never be done


Joseph Francavilla

Published in Arden Spring 2006


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