For Botero, Who Looked at What I Could Not

boteroA poem by Rose Marie Berger, a peace activist, poet and the Senior Associate Editor of Sojourners Magazine. This piece was first published in Beltway Poetry Quarterly (Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006).
The bodies are fat
corpulent, like the seven-hundred-
pound man in Maryland
who hasn’t stood since 1998
and must lie on his stomach
or his weight will crush
his windpipe. They hang
upside down by a toe or ankle
these bodies,
faces wrapped in a red silk scarf—

a present to some commander or
other. Almost a bow tied between
a framing beam and a metatarsal.
Botero blows it out of proportion.
He makes it all look larger
than life really looks. The blood
is too bright, the tow ropes and

snap hooks too ungainly.
The billy clubs too phallic
with their lead-sheathed tips. I don’t
know where he gets this stuff,

The subjects

look stuffed with something—
Psalms? Suicide notes? Someone

should gag. Someone should vomit
all over these paintings. Seriously,
someone should go about grabbing
the brush from his hand
whenever he starts to paint
like this.

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