Look at What You’ve Done

Staring at Maillol’s bronze nude, Nymph, photographed during a spring rain in the garden of Hirshhorn’s Connecticut house, tears came to me, but no words. I don’t know how it did that, or why me. She stands, it seems, with her palms held out summoning from my blue living room floor. The nude is no nymph, but a woman of smooth bronze, photographed in a green light, during a rain in the rich man’s garden. The words belong to you, but you don’t call; you aren’t home, and you don’t call me. I have nothing to do that I want doing, so I wait for you, and worry that something might have happened to you, or that you would yourself be standing in a garden during the spring rain, or that I would, and you with tears in your eyes. I play a song on my phonograph over and over: “I feel like letting go.” The words seem themselves to beat within me, caught at liberty, crying out in agony. “Mother nature look at what you’ve done.” I play the song over and over, staring at the bronze by Maillol, and I’m afraid to shut my eyes. I’m afraid that I would see you with the spring rain dripping from your outstretched palms, and running down your naked thighs.

3 July 1975