A Ceiling Bas-Relief
A CEILING BAS-RELIEF
the Fontaine House
1. 1850. To typhus, the only boy
of a tinsmith, lost. Off to the side
of the mourning, swinging its
neck, the child's pet swan rejects
food, follows its small master.
The smith resumes work. Borne
by river Natchez to Memphis,
across years he labors, ornamenting
the homes of the wealthy.
In 1870, to this house, comes...
2. Atop a scaffold, face uplifted,
Kneeling. He applies
A thin base. An oval frame
Molds. Hands floating,
The curved outline of wings
Forms, feather by feather
between the wings,
Eyes, a delicate nose--
Stare: the smith's hands
long since air,
Lively, this face with his jaw.