2007-2008, bronze. Eric Fischl, born 1948, American. Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, DC.
The vulnerability of the human body has been a prominent theme in the artist’s sculpture from before 9/11. The accompanying artist statement said he offered this work as a healing.
So many more people have died since 9/11. The overwhelming majority innocent of all acts of war.
There is this below, also. This mainly. This that remains, like a far country to set out for in slow stages and many rest stops and much looking back and some turning back.
Very hard reached, though; like all places of human harbour and labour.
The Thing Is
(from Mules of Love), Ellen Bass, born 1947, American
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you have held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.